The frustrations of the Rays' disappointing season were loudly obvious before Wednesday's game.
Prior to heading out for batting practice, LF Carl Crawford loudly confronted DH Pat Burrell in the clubhouse, shouting at him angrily in front of other players and reporters, prompting manager Joe Maddon to meet privately with both players.
"It was nothing," Maddon said afterward. "Honestly, I talked to both parties. Everything's good."
It was not clear what Crawford was upset about, and he declined to elaborate when asked before and again after the game. "I ain't talking about that,'' he said. "That's over with.'' Burrell didn't talk pregame and left postgame before the clubhouse was open to the media.
Maddon insisted the incident was not a indication that the overall attitude in the clubhouse - which he maintains has remained positive despite the losses - had changed. "Honestly, in spite of what you may have seen before the game, it really hasn't,'' he said. "That was totally separate from anything else here. It's been good, and I expect it be good again (today).''
MINOR MATTERS: Class A Charlotte lost 5-2 to Tampa (Yankees) in the fifth and final game of the Florida State League championship series in a game delayed more than two hours by rain.
The Stone Crabs were seeking the 10th league championship by a Rays affiliate.
Triple-A Durham beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five International League championship, as OF Rashad Eldridge had three hits, including a homer. The Bulls can close out the series tonight at Scranton.
WADING IN: Rookie Wade Davis makes his third major-league start tonight, confident it will be more like his dazzling debut against Detroit than his disappointing follow up in Boston on Saturday, when he got knocked out in the third inning.
"I don't like losing, period, especially the way that game went down, so it should be a fun start," Davis said.
"I don't know if I was pitching away from contact - I'm sure it looked like it, and I probably was to an extent, especially when you fall behind, and I was probably trying to make too good of pitches. ...
"But I think it will be a different story this time, and I think a little different attitude out there."
The Rays haven't set a fourth start for Davis, who has logged a pro career-high 1681/3 innings, but he is hoping for the chance to make three more starts. "I feel strong," Davis, 24, said. "Ever since the All-Star break, I've been stronger and stronger. I've been able to go over 100, 110 pitches and getting stronger over 100 pitches. So I'm definitely ready to go as many as I can."
Maddon said they will set the rotation by the weekend, and he guessed "probably yes" that Davis would keep pitching.
MARK OF Z: As the Rays get heavily into their offseason discussions about 2010, one interesting idea is to have Ben Zobrist split time between rightfield and second base essentially as part of two platoons.
"It's a definite possibility," Maddon said. "Ben gives us such great latitude, the different things we can do. And it's not only based on his versatility, it's on his attitude. He's fine. With some guys, when you bump them around like that a little bit, they get offended by it. But he is fine with all of that stuff.
"He makes it easy from an administrative side as well as from the guys that he's working with, whoever may be part of this tandem. He makes it very easy. Really a great professional."
MISCELLANY: RHP Russ Springer hasn't retired a batter in his past four appearances. ... OF Matt Joyce and INF Sean Rodriguez, the key acquisition in the Scott Kazmir trade, are candidates to be called up when Durham's season is over. ... With Zobrist's ninth-inning homer, the Rays have 184 for the season, six shy of the franchise mark set in 2006. ... RHP James Shields will fly home today in advance of Friday's start. ... The Rays will honor their top minor-leaguers before Friday's game. ... The Rays were able to get the ball Reid Brignac hit for his first big-league homer Monday.