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Tampa Bay Rays prepared to put Jason Bartlett on disabled list

TORONTO — SS Jason Bartlett appears more likely headed to the disabled list than back on the field this weekend.

Bartlett experienced enough soreness in his strained right hamstring during light drills on Tuesday that manager Joe Maddon said it's doubtful Bartlett would return to the lineup as planned on Friday and a "50-50 proposition" that he ends up going on the 15-day disabled list.

"It wasn't awful, but it wasn't as good as we had hoped it would be today, either," Maddon said. "We're going to have to have that discussion (about the DL). I'm not 100 percent sure, it's like a 50-50 proposition which way it's going to trend right now."

Bartlett, who sustained what the Rays called a mild strain during Saturday's game, did some throwing and hitting off a tee and "felt a little bit sore" when making lateral movements, Maddon said.

Bartlett made only limited comments to reporters Tuesday afternoon since he hadn't met yet with Maddon, saying he was "still getting better" and had "no setbacks."

With Reid Brignac filling in capably at shortstop (and Sean Rodriguez available as his backup), the Rays could consider a number of options to replace Bartlett on the 25-man squad: Adding OF Matt Joyce (who is on the 40-man roster) or INF/OF Dan Johnson (who is not, though they have two spots open) if they want an extra bat; or INF Elliot Johnson (also not on the roster) if they want an extra middle infielder. Another possibility is activating C Kelly Shoppach from the DL and keeping three catchers.

DRAFT BREEZE: Rays officials are excited about having three of the top 42 picks in Monday's draft — their original pick at No. 17 and compensation picks at No. 31 (for not signing 2009 first-rounder LeVon Washington) and No. 42 (for the free-agent loss of C Gregg Zaun).

"There are a number of guys that we'd like to have, and we feel like having three of the top 42 picks that we'll be able to add three really good players in our system on that first day that we've never really been in position to be able to do before," executive VP Andrew Friedman said at a predraft media session at Tropicana Field.

HANK IN RIGHT? At the team's request, INF/DH Hank Blalock started working in the outfield Tuesday, with the possibility of getting some time in rightfield. Blalock, who never played the outfield at any level, is eager for the opportunity to increase his versatility — a la, for example, former Ray Eric Hinske. "I'll see if I can help the team out there," Blalock said.

STARRY EYES: Evan Longoria has a hefty lead over New York's Alex Rodriguez in the voting among AL third basemen for the July 13 All-Star Game, 915,247 (the third most votes overall) to 632,268. Carl Crawford is third (532,201 votes) among outfielders, behind Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and Texas' Nelson Cruz.

Among other Rays, SS Bartlett is fourth, 1B Carlos Peña and 2B Ben Zobrist fifth, OF B.J. Upton ninth. Ex-Ray Pat Burrell is a distant fifth among DHs.

BRAIN TRUST: Maddon and the coaches met for a half-hour in his office, a new twice-a-month program he instituted to encourage more conversation and evaluation of players by all members of the staff — for example, a base coach talking about a pitcher. "It helps with the cross-pollination thing," Maddon said. "They've really taken to it."

MISCELLANY: Shoppach went 1-for-4 for Triple-A Durham as the DH in the second day of his rehab. … Prospect LHP Alex Torres left his Tuesday start for Double-A Montgomery with a left knee sprain but may be able to make his next start. … Prospect OF Desmond Jennings was dropped to seventh in the Durham lineup after his average fell to .222.

Tampa Bay Rays prepared to put Jason Bartlett on disabled list 06/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 1:23am]

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