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Upton says he's fine after apparently hurting shoulder

ST. LOUIS — The way CF B.J. Upton grabbed his left shoulder and walked slowly off the field Saturday after jumping into the wall trying to catch Ryan Ludwick's 10th-inning homer, it looked as if the Rays may have lost more than a game.

Upton has had several problems with the left shoulder before and missed two games after painfully straining it on a swing in the May 1 game at Baltimore.

But appearances apparently are deceiving, as Upton and manager Joe Maddon both said there was no problem or reason for concern.

"It's nothing like it was before," Upton said. "I just jumped and turned it wrong. It's all right."

Upton has played every day since returning to the lineup May 4 but has not homered since.

IN A RELATED NOTE: Matt Garza gave up 10 hits, walked in a run and failed to get through five innings, but he and Maddon said he didn't have that bad of a day against a pesky St. Louis lineup.

"They did their homework," Garza said. "I made the pitches like our scouting report said — away, away, away. … I really didn't get hit too hard today. … This team will single you to death, and that's what they did."

And Maddon agreed.

"He threw the ball pretty well overall," Maddon said. "They did a nice job of hitting."

Starting pitching has been a key to the Rays' run of success, and the difference was obvious Saturday.

Garza ended up giving up seven runs; Rays starters had allowed a total of nine over the previous 10 games, and five of those were by Andy Sonnanstine in the May 11 game.

BAD DAY, NIGHT: In giving up a walkoff homer to Ryan Ludwick, Dan Wheeler earned the first loss by a Rays reliever since April 16, when he was the loser against Minnesota.

That the ball looked like a routine out until carrying in a surprisingly strong wind was of little consolation.

"I still missed," said Wheeler, who has allowed a run in only four of 20 appearances. "That's something I'm going to have to sleep on tonight. I have to go out there and make better pitches."

PRICE CHECK: Top 2007 draft pick David Price looked ready to make his official pro debut with a strong five-inning extended spring outing on Saturday in St. Petersburg, striking out 10, including Yankees star Alex Rodriguez twice.

A-Rod, rehabbing a strained quad, did homer, as Price, recovered from a spring left elbow strain, allowed two runs on four hits and a walk. Assuming he feels good, Price will start Thursday for Class A Vero Beach.

"I wish he was on our team," Rodriguez told "He has a very bright future. The Rays are doing a fantastic job of drafting these young guys."

MINOR MATTERS: RHP Juan Salas was reinstated from the restricted list to the 40-man roster then optioned to Triple-A Durham, where he had been pitching. … Class A Columbus OF Emeel Salem, the Rays April player of the month who led all of pro baseball with 25 steals, is likely out for the season after breaking his left elbow last week on a headfirst slide.

MISCELLANY: Jason Bartlett's error was just the Rays' fourth in their past 13 games and the 10th overall by an infielder. … Cards manager Tony La Russa, a Tampa native, won his 2,400th game, the third to reach that plateau. … Baseball America's first mock draft has the Rays taking Georgia high school SS Tim Beckham with the first pick over FSU C Buster Posey. … The Cardinals plan to honor Stan Musial before today's game, renaming a stadium entrance way Musial Plaza and a portion of the adjacent street Stan Musial Drive. … Closer Troy Percival did a photo shoot for an upcoming Sporting News cover story. … Sonnanstine is 11-3 since Aug. 15; only Arizona's Brandon Webb (15-2) and the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang (12-3) have more wins.

Upton says he's fine after apparently hurting shoulder 05/17/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 17, 2008 10:32pm]
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