Rays Roundup: Wade Davis to Remain In 'Pen

In today's edition of Rays Roundup: Wade Davis will continue to pitch out of the bullpen, Jeff Niemann will missing from the rotation for about six weeks, Josh Lueke joins the Rays 'pen and Hideki Matsui may be pressed into action soon as the injuries begin to mount up for the Rays. All of that and more inside.

INSIDE PITCH

Davis will remain in 'pen despite rotation vacancy

Wade Davis lost his two-seasons-plus hold on a spot in the rotation at the end of spring training when the Rays decided to make room for rookie Matt Moore and chose to keep Jeff Niemann starting and move Davis to the bullpen.

However, even with Niemann sidelined for at least six weeks due to a fractured right leg, Davis won't get his spot back.

Manager Joe Maddon said Davis would remain in the bullpen because of the good job he is doing and valuable role he is filling. The Rays will plug the spot in the rotation, which comes up next on Saturday against Atlanta, by calling up a starter from Class AAA, either Alex Cobb, who started nine games for Tampa Bay last year, or Chris Archer, who has yet to reach the majors.

"If we can spot one of our young guys and keep him doing what he's doing," Maddon said, "I think it makes us better."

Davis has pitched well in relief, posting a 2.04 ERA in 12 appearances, though he has been used mainly as a long and middle man. Maddon likes what he has seen.

"Part of it is I really like where he's at in the bullpen," the manager said. "I think he's done a great job and he's getting to the point where he and his body are understanding it better. ... I like him there. I'm not afraid of him in a hot moment because he's been there before."

Davis didn't pitch Tuesday, but the bullpen did its job in the Rays' 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney each threw a scoreless inning to close out the victory.


NOTES, QUOTES

Broken leg could sideline Niemann for six weeks

--RHP Jeff Niemann was placed on the 15-day disabled list after sustaining a small fracture of his right leg when he was hit by a grounder in the first inning Monday. Manager Joe Maddon said six weeks is an operative estimate for Niemann's absence, though Niemann will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the fracture, hoping good news could reduce the timetable.

--RHP Josh Lueke was called up from Class AAA Durham to initially take RHP Jeff Niemann's roster spot and provide some depth to the bullpen, which covered eight innings Monday. Lueke didn't pitch well with the Rays at the start of the season, and hadn't done well at Durham either, going 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA, allowing a combined 26 hits and walks in 13 1/3 innings.

--LHP David Price worked seven solid innings to continue his dominance of the Blue Jays. He is now 11-2 vs. Toronto overall and unbeaten in six starts in the Rogers Centre.

--DH/OF Hideki Matsui, who could play a larger role for the Rays given their extensive list of injuries, went 0-for-4 Tuesday in his first game with Class AAA Durham. He signed a minor league game with the Rays late last month, then worked himself into shape in extended spring training.

--INF Elliot Johnson continues to take advantage of extended playing time, extending his career-high hitting streak, and his longest stretch of consecutive starts, to seven games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Players on the disabled list, the most for the Rays since the 2009 season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Four-and-4 off that road trip is spectacular. Some tough games in New York. Some tough games in Baltimore. To come back and beat a very good team, Toronto, here, coming from behind both nights, that's spectacular." -- Manager Joe Maddon, on the rugged trip that ended with three wins.


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