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  1. Rays

Rays' James Loney suspended, fined for umpire confrontation

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays 1B James Loney was not in a talking mood prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins, but he was in the starting lineup.

Loney was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday for making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation after being ejected from Saturday night's game in Oakland. Loney is appealing the suspension, which makes him eligible to play until the appeals process is complete.

"That's more or less through James and his agent," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the appeals process. "We'll wait to hear back from Major League Baseball in the coming days.

"We don't want to play any games short, but really, one (game) is better than anything else."

If the appeal is not overturned by Thursday, the left-handed-hitting Loney could choose to sit out that game against the Twins because they will start LHP Tommy Milone. If Loney's suspension is upheld, Logan Forsythe or Daniel Nava will take his place at first base.

"Nava played some first base on the road trip and looked comfortable," Cash said. "If James does have to sit out a day then we'll wait and see what that day is and who we put there."

Loney was adamant after the ejection that he did nothing wrong. He did not talk to reporters before taking batting practice.

FINGERS CROSSED: LH reliever Jake McGee walked gingerly through the clubhouse four days after having surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. He's supposed to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks. That doesn't leave much of the season, which ends Oct. 4, but McGee said he is hoping he could pitch in the final week.

"I'm not really sure," McGee said. "I've heard maybe the last homestand, but we're going to take it day to day. I think I might start playing catch next week depending on my strength."

McGee felt pain when he threw a pitch at Houston on Aug. 18. He was sent to St. Petersburg the next day to be examined by team doctor Koco Eaton.

McGee had surgery on his left elbow before the season and did not return until mid May. He is 1-2 with six saves and a 2.57 ERA.

ARCHER HOPING FOR REPEAT: Chris Archer's last start was just about perfect. He allowed one hit and struck out 11 in a 1-0 shutout against Houston on Thursday. He threw 98 pitches and retired the final 15 batters he faced.

As he takes the mound tonight against the Twins, Archer (11-9, 2.77) says he really doesn't care if he gives up hits and runs as long as his team wins. But throwing a complete game is always in the back of his mind.

"If there's anything I'm absolutely striving for it's getting to that same place where I can finish the game and not exceed my pitch count," Archer said. "It's been ingrained in me since Double A. More than throwing a no-hitter or a perfect game, I like throwing a complete game with not that many pitches."

IMPORTANT SERIES: It wouldn't seem as if two teams hovering at or just above .500 would have much at stake. But both the Rays and Twins are still in the hunt for the second AL wild-card spot. The Rays were 21/2 games behind Texas and the Twins were 11/2 behind before Tuesday's game.

"As far as we're concerned, we just need to win ballgames," Cash said. "There is a thick group of teams in this race and it starts (Tuesday)."

INJURY REPORT: Rays OF Desmond Jennings left the game in the third inning with a bruise to his surgically repaired left knee. He was replaced by Nava. Jennings, who had a single and groundout in two at-bats, was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Aug. 14. … C Curt Casali left in the fifth inning with a strained left hamstring after hitting a solo home run. He was replaced by Rene Rivera.

MISCELLANY: Rays RHP Nathan Karns has now allowed first-inning runs in 12 of his 25 starts after Miguel Sano hit a three-run homer. He had a 7.50 ERA in the first inning entering the game. … LHP Xavier Cedeno had his streak of 15 scoreless appearances snapped in the seventh when Eddie Rosario hit a solo home run.