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Tampa Bay Rays leave Jeff Niemann, Dan Johnson, others off ALDS roster

The Tampa Bay Rays opted to keep three catchers on their 25-man ALDS roster, picked veteran LHP J.P. Howell over Cesar Ramos, and went with reserve INF Elliot Johnson over either OF Justin Ruggiano or PH Dan Johnson. Also, RHP Jeff Niemann was left off the roster and RHP Wade Davis is in the bullpen.

Niemann was disappointed to be left off the ALDS roster, but understood and said he'll be ready for the second round, or if he needs to step in due to injury.

Niemann said it was "bad timing" that his upper back bothered him late in the season. His last outing was a one-inning start last Saturday against the Jays. Manager Joe Maddon said Niemann just hasn't looked right.

"It was disappointing to hear," Niemann said. "But we're doing everything we can, and I'll be ready for Round 2. That's where we're at right now, just bad timing. It is what it is and we're doing everything we can to get back out there and be a contributor."

Dan Johnson, who helped lift the Rays to the playoffs with his game-tying, solo homer with two strikes in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday, understood why he was left off, but will be ready to go if he needs to be an injury replacement this series.

"It's one of those things, you stay prepared and whatever is best for the team to win, that's what really matters," Johnson said. "You never know what's going to happen. I'll just stay positive, cheer my heart out and try to help out this team anyway I can."

Here is the 25-man roster for the ALDS; the roster can be changed if the Rays advance to the next round:

PITCHERS (11)

STARTERS

RH Jeremy Hellickson

LF Matt Moore

LH David Price

RH James Shields

RELIEVERS

RH Juan Cruz

RH Wade Davis

RH Kyle Farnsworth

RH Brandon Gomes

LH J.P. Howell

LH Jake McGee

RH Joel Peralta

CATCHERS (3)

John Jaso

Jose Lobaton

Kelly Shoppach

INFIELDERS (6)

Reid Brignac

Elliot Johnson

Casey Kotchman

Evan Longoria

Sean Rodriguez

Ben Zobrist

OUTFIELDERS (5)

Johnny Damon

Sam Fuld

Desmond Jennings

Matt Joyce

B.J. Upton

Left off for this round: INF Dan Johnson, RHP Jeff Niemann, LHP Cesar Ramos, OF Justin Ruggiano, RHP Andy Sonnanstine.

Tampa Bay Rays leave Jeff Niemann, Dan Johnson, others off ALDS roster 09/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 5:22pm]
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