Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett feels better than expected, says return from disabled list may be soon

ST. PETERSBURG — SS Jason Bartlett's return from the disabled list may not be that far off.

Bartlett said he surprised himself with how well his sprained left ankle felt Tuesday, when he fielded ground balls and had batting practice. Bartlett, eligible to come off the DL today, said his goal is to return Friday, but the more realistic option is Tuesday in Colorado. A minor-league assignment is still possible.

"I felt a lot better than I thought I would," Bartlett said. "I'm still not where I want to be. No need to rush it right now."

The next step will be running the bases Thursday. Bartlett says it has been frustrating to be out considering that when he went on the DL, he was leading the majors in hitting (.373). He has missed 14 games, and though manager Joe Maddon didn't offer a timetable, he said "we're pretty eager to get him back."

"Even in my (batting practice) session, I was trying to get that feel back and it's not coming back," Bartlett said, smiling. "I'm starting to stress, 'Is it going to be there when I start playing again?' It is frustrating. I was feeling great. We'll see what happens."

upset upton: CF B.J. Upton, who appeared to be upset over a couple of strike calls in his ninth-inning at-bat, was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Wegner after later flying out.

Upton came to the plate with one on and no outs. He got ahead in the count, but a couple of inside pitches by LHP Brian Fuentes were called strikes. After Upton flew out, he continued to talk with Wegner as he headed to the dugout. Upton was unavailable for comment after his first ejection of the season.

"When you do come back on the field like that, an umpire is going to throw you out," Maddon said. "I like the fact that it meant so much to B.J., that he was upset. I understand that. But nevertheless, I understand why the umpire had to throw him out."

STILL ON TOP: Rays 3B Evan Longoria continues to be the overall leader in the AL All-Star voting. In the third update released Tuesday, Longoria has 1,560,358 votes, about 50,000 more than Yankees SS Derek Jeter, who has 1,511,418. Voting continues until the end of the month for the July 14 game.

Bartlett, despite being out the past two weeks, is still second, though a distant second, to Jeter among shortstops with 698,095 votes. LF Carl Crawford is fourth among outfielders with 698,470 votes, trailing Boston's Jason Bay, Texas' Josh Hamilton and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

ONE MORE TIME: Tonight's starter, rookie RHP Jeff Niemann, said the extra day's rest helped his body recover from his last outing — a two-hitter against the Royals.

Maddon said if Niemann continues to command his curveball as he did in his last start, there could be more outings just like it. "You don't see that many curveballs like that, with that kind of command like (he had) last time," Maddon said. "And I believe that's what it should look like. I don't think that's an anomaly game. I think he's very capable of it."

KEEP IT SIMPLE: RHP Grant Balfour had a solid appearance Tuesday. But before the game, Maddon tried to put Balfour's performance this season (6.15 ERA) into perspective in comparision to last year's breakout.

"You look at (Balfour's) overall numbers, they're not that bad," Maddon said. "It's just he just kind of spoiled us last year. A lot of what he did and what J.P. (Howell) did last year was like, come on, like almost impossible to do those things. Maybe he's pitching like he's supposed to be pitching this year. And we just have to put it into perspective."

IN AND OUT: The Rays added the bullpen depth at Triple-A Durham by signing nine-year veteran RHP Jorge Julio, who has 99 career saves, a 17-34 record and a 4.43 ERA in 453 relief appearances. Julio, 30, began the season with Milwaukee and was 1-1, 7.79 in 15 appearances before being released last week. To make room, the Rays released RHP Chad Orvella.

MISCELLANY: DH Pat Burrell went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in his second rehab start at Double-A Montgomery. … Instant replay was used in the fifth inning Tuesday, confirming Howie Kendrick's triple after a two minute, 40 second delay.

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett feels better than expected, says return from disabled list may be soon 06/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  2. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents


    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.

  4. Rays journal: More bullpen changes as Diego Moreno heads to DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays bullpen has another new look.

    Rays reliever Diego Moreno, pitching Sunday against the Yankees, heads the DL with shoulder bursitis.
  5. ACC baseball tournament: FSU beats Notre Dame on 12th-inning HR


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jackson Lueck hit his second two-run home run of the game in the 12th inning, lifting Florida State past Notre Dame 5-3 on Wednesday at a rainy ACC baseball tournament.

    Florida State outfielder Jackson Lueck (2) connects for a game-winning home run in the 12th inning during game 4 of the 2017 ACC Baseball Tournament in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (Wade Payne/ via AP)