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Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell sits out with recurring stiff neck

LOCAL HERO: Joe Maddon addresses the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after being honored with a resolution.

Special to the Times

LOCAL HERO: Joe Maddon addresses the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after being honored with a resolution.

BALTIMORE — 2B Akinori Iwamura got Tuesday night off because manager Joe Maddon thought he looked "a little bit fatigued" and would benefit from two days' rest.

But DH Pat Burrell was out because of a stiff neck that has been a lingering problem since he was forced to miss the April 28 game and, Maddon said, could require further medical evaluation.

"It has been a little bit ongoing," Maddon said. "I'm not sure yet; right now we're calling it day to day. You can just see him walking around, it's just a little bit stoked up and he just can't get it loose. He got it loose the other day to play against the Red Sox, but today it's still bothersome."

Though Burrell was said to be available, Maddon didn't used him to pinch-hit in what seemed a prime opportunity with a man on and two outs in the ninth against lefty closer George Sherrill. Overall, Burrell is hitting .250 with one homer, four doubles and 17 RBIs.

Iwamura had played in 32 of the first 33 games, and Maddon cited his spring participation in the World Baseball Classic. "I could just sense … he was getting a little bit fatigued just looking at him," Maddon said.

Unsaid was that Iwamura made two uncharacteristic mistakes in Sunday's game, failing to catch a popup and not scoring from second on a ninth-inning single.

MR. MADDON GOES TO HARRISBURG: Maddon's midday Tuesday visit to Pennsylvania's state capitol and ceremony at the House of Representatives went well, even if the politicians were all wearing Phillies caps.

Maddon, a Hazleton native, was honored with a resolution, H.R. 303, recognizing his accomplishments during the 2008 season, then addressed the 200-plus assembled legislators and guests. His mother, Beanie, and sister, Carmine, met him there.

"It's one of those things where you're on the road a lot and you're a little bit tired and you think, 'Okay, why?' " he said. "Then you go up there (about 75 minutes, in a limo) and you understand why. It was very impressive. It was really well done. You feel very honored under those circumstances, and truly appreciative. … It's one of those things that I probably will never forget."

As for the Phillies caps?

Just before Maddon's ceremony, the House read a resolution honoring longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who died last month.

"They all donned their Phillies caps and obviously there is some irony involved in that," Maddon said. "They were concerned that I would feel bad, but of course I didn't. I thought it was great I was being considered on the same day as Mr. Kalas."

Maddon, however, said he did "touche" them by borrowing a friend's Rays cap.

RIGGANS OUT AWHILE: Backup C Shawn Riggans will be out until at least mid June but doesn't appear to need surgery on his sore right shoulder. That was the bad news and the good news from Riggans' Monday visit to see noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

Riggans will rest the shoulder for at least three weeks to see if that calms down the irritation and inflammation, then need some rehab work.

NUMBERS GAME: 3B Evan Longoria's 45 RBIs match Juan Gonzalez ('98 Rangers) and Stan Musial ('54 Cardinals) for the most through 34 games since Roy Campanella had 47 for the 1953 Dodgers. … The Rays stole a base for the 14th straight game.

MINOR MATTERS: Ex-Ray Jonny Gomes hit a first-inning homer off Triple-A Durham's David Price, who otherwise pitched well but didn't get through five innings under his 75-pitch limit. Gomes, who has seven homers for the Reds' Louisville team, then doubled in the winning runs in the ninth.

MISCELLANY: Quality assurance coach Todd Greene rejoined the team after the birth of his fourth child, Gavin Todd. … RHP Dan Wheeler picked up the tab for Monday's "bullpen dinner," plus coaches Jim Hickey and Bobby Ramos and bullpen catcher Scott Cursi.

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell sits out with recurring stiff neck 05/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 7:09am]
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