Tampa Bay Rays' Jeremy Hellickson passes concussion tests, will start Saturday

Backfired: Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury injures his shoulder after colliding with Reid Brignac during a take-out slide.
Backfired: Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury injures his shoulder after colliding with Reid Brignac during a take-out slide.
Published April 14, 2012

BOSTON — After taking two more concussion-related tests Friday, one at a Boston hospital in the morning and another on a computer in the clubhouse during the game, Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson was cleared to start today's game.

"I passed finally," Hellickson said. "I felt normal the last few days, I felt like I could go, I was just waiting for the okay. I'm not sure what they were seeing to even think about holding me back, but you understand what the process is and you have to wait it out."

Hellickson's status was in question after he was hit in the head by a ball during batting practice Wednesday in Detroit. The Rays didn't detail what they said was a complicated process for Hellickson to be cleared, whether the final decision was on their end or from Major League Baseball, but that it became official Friday.

"It's good to know they're looking out for us, but at the same time I would have been upset if it was the other way around because I feel great," Hellickson said.

Had he not been cleared, the Rays likely would have summoned RHP Chris Archer from Triple-A Durham.

RELIEF HELP: RHP Dane De La Rosa was called up from Triple A, and RHP Josh Lueke sent down after a second rough outing in the 12-2 loss to Boston. De La Rosa, 29, who debuted last season, was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four games for Durham and has the ability to work multiple innings. Lueke, the last addition to the opening day roster, allowed nine hits and three walks in two appearances.

RHP Joel Peralta struggled again, allowing all four batters he faced to reach, and has a 37.80 ERA after four appearances (seven runs in 1⅔ innings). Manager Joe Maddon said Peralta's velocity is normal but he is "not comfortable yet," possibly the result of not pitching in winter ball at the team's request.

COLLISION COURSE: SS Reid Brignac said the fourth-inning collision at second base that resulted in an apparently serious right shoulder injury to Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury was an "uncontrollable circumstance" with an unfortunate outcome.

Ellsbury, running on the pitch, slid into second to try to break up a double play, and Brignac, after leaping to make the throw, came down hard on him.

"As soon as I landed on him I knew something was not right," Brignac said. "I could hear him and … it sounded like a very painful thing."

Brignac said Ellsbury created the situation by sliding late, though he didn't consider it a dirty play. "He slides earlier, I don't have to be leaving my feet, I can throw and get out of the way," Brignac said. "He slid a little later, it could have went both ways. I could have been the one that got injured because of how late a slide it was."

CATCHING ON: C Jose Lobaton's status should be clearer today after the Rays have him test his sore right shoulder. Lobaton said he felt better Friday but that he might want to be checked again by a doctor and didn't want to play until he was 100 percent.

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If he needs a few more days, the Rays would be shorthanded as they already have to limit the innings of veteran Jose Molina, who was to start Friday and today anyway, and don't consider Stephen Vogt ready defensively. Another option is to put Lobaton on the DL if Chris Gimenez, who has big-league experience, is ready to come off the Triple-A DL (groin strain) when eligible on Sunday.

MISCELLANY: DH Luke Scott lined out to left as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, his first action since leaving Sunday's game with a mildly strained left hamstring. He's looking to return to the lineup today as the DH. … CF B.J. Upton (lower back soreness) singled and stole two bases in his Class A rehab assignment Friday, targeting an April 20-22 return. … A one-hour Inside the Rays on Game 162 debuts after today's game on Sun Sports.