1. Archive


RHP Jason Hammel didn't get very far.

Hammel was supposed to fly from New York to Tampa on Sunday, pick up his truck and drive to Durham, N.C., where he'd been demoted to transition back to starting. Instead Hammel was back at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, went with the Devil Rays to Baltimore after the game and could end up starting against the Red Sox this weekend.

And it all could depend on Jay Witasick's elbow.

"Officially, I don't know what's going on," Hammel said. "I'm here but I'm not here."

Witasick is headed back to St. Petersburg this morning to have his swollen elbow examined by Dr. Koco Eaton and have an MRI exam, and it seems likely he'd at least need some rest if not rehab or worse.

If Witasick ends up on the disabled list, the Rays seem poised to recall Hammel (waiving the 10-day rule, which requires a team to wait 10 days to recall a player after his demotion, since there was an injury) and could pop him in the rotation in place of LHP J.P. Howell, who struggled immensely Saturday in his return.

But Howell might not be going anywhere, either, because the Rays' only left-handed reliever, Casey Fossum, flew back to Florida on Sunday night to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. With labor scheduled to be induced Tuesday, he could miss several games.

Witasick said he didn't know what to expect: "It actually feels much better today than it did (Saturday), but on the flip side something's swelling, so we've just got to find out why."

Manager Joe Maddon said he hoped the Rays could sort things out during today's off day but that it might take until Tuesday. They could also be looking at making changes with some of the struggling relievers, such as Shawn Camp (6.64 ERA), Fossum (6.27 since going to the pen) and Brian Stokes (7.54).

The Rays went to 13 pitchers (and just a three-man bench) so they'd have extra arms for the four-game weekend in New York. At some point soon - when all are healthy and present - they will drop one and add a position player.

C.C. RISING: LF Carl Crawford's mildly sprained ankle kept him sidelined again Sunday, but he is hoping to return to the lineup Tuesday in Baltimore.

Crawford said he was still "a little sore" and wouldn't have his usual "explosion or anything like that so it wouldn't do me any good to even go out there." But, Crawford said: "I should be ready to play (Tuesday), that's what I'm shooting for."

Maddon said trainer Ron Porterfield was confident "it will not be anything lingering or long." Still, the Rays will be cautious with their speedy All-Star. "It's his bread and butter right there, and I don't want to mess that up long term," Maddon said.

TOUGH DAY: Jonny Gomes, filling in for Crawford, struck out four times (before singling in the ninth) and misplayed a pair of fly balls. "The hardest part of a game like that is to stay mentally focused," Gomes said.

MISCELLANY: James Shields is 0-4, 8.87 in five starts against the Yankees. ... B.J. Upton reached based in his 10th straight game and is hitting .444 (16-for-36) with 10 RBIs in that span. ... Ben Zobrist (remember him?) hit a 10th-inning homer to lead Triple-A Durham to a 2-1 win at Indianapolis on Saturday. RHP Jae Seo pitched eight shutout innings Sunday. ... INF Jorge Cantu reported to Durham.