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Tampa Bay Rays still have several decisions to make on playoff roster

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays made the easier decisions on their playoff roster by not including LHP Alex Torres, OF Brandon Guyer, RHP Dane De La Rosa and INF Russ Canzler on their 30-man travel roster.

The tougher ones — five of them — must be made by today's 11 a.m. (Tampa Bay time) deadline.

Manager Joe Maddon said they are leaning toward carrying 14 position players and 11 pitchers but wouldn't say much more than that. Among the more interesting discussions:

• The final spots in the bullpen, specifically whether to include starters RHPs Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann, who apparently aren't scheduled to work; and which regular relievers to exclude, including a potential decision between LHPs J.P. Howell and Cesar Ramos.

• Whether to carry a third catcher, providing protection if/when starter Kelly Shoppach is pinch-hit for. And if not, whether the one backup is John Jaso or Jose Lobaton.

• Adding OF Justin Ruggiano as an extra right-handed bat with the Rangers starting lefties in four of the five games, potentially at the expense of reserve INF Elliot Johnson. And whether to keep lucky charm Dan Johnson.

The Rays are able to add rookie LHP Matt Moore even though he wasn't called up until after the Aug. 31 postseason eligibility deadline because RHP Alex Cobb is on the DL, and Moore "replaces" him.

SPECIAL GUESTS: The family of Bucs great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 3 at the Trop on Monday. Selmon died Sept. 4. His wife, Claybra; daughter Brady; and sons Lee Roy Jr. and Christopher will be on hand.

ABOUT WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The Rays were the first team to make the playoffs by overcoming a deficit of seven or more runs to win its final regular-season game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. … They're the fifth modern-era team to clinch a postseason spot with a walkoff win on the regular season's final day, joining 2009 Twins (over Tigers), 2007 Rockies (over Padres), 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers (over Milwaukee Braves) and 1951 New York Giants (over Brooklyn Dodgers). … The Rays' Evan Longoria and Giants' Bobby Thomson (1951) are the only players to hit a walkoff home run in the final regular-season game to clinch a playoff berth.

MISCELLANY: The Hall of Fame requested, and Longoria agreed, to donate the bat used in his walkoff homer. … MLB named Dale Scott as the umpire crew chief for the series, with Mark Carlson, Kerwin Danley, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman and Marvin Hudson working. … Of the Rays' 17 September wins, nine came from five rookie pitchers, four by reliever Jake McGee. … Online oddsmaker has the Rays at 8-1 to win the World Series, the fifth choice behind Phillies, Yankees, Tigers and Brewers.

Staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Rays still have several decisions to make on playoff roster 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 11:45pm]
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