Devil Rays Inside Pitch

All of the latest news and notes on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

INSIDE PITCH

The Rays' first injury of the season was a significant one, as third baseman Akinori Iwamura, their best overall player through the first three weeks, strained his right oblique and will miss four to six weeks.

The Rays found some solace in being able to fill his roster spot with Jorge Cantu, who was their 2005 team MVP but was optioned to Class AAA Durham at the end of spring training.

"We feel like we're in a pretty fortunate position to suffer an injury like we did and be able to bring up a guy who hit 28 home runs and 117 RBIs (two years ago)," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "If you think back to last year and April and some of the depth issues we had with the injuries we had, we're in a much better position."

Cantu, hitting .267 at Durham with no home runs and eight RBIs in 75 at-bats, will be used at first base (where he has been playing occasionally for the Bulls) and at DH. He was the regular second baseman much of 2005-06.

The Rays were the last major league team to make a roster move. At this time last year, they had already used an AL-high 32 players, including 16 pitchers.

DEVIL RAYS 6, YANKEES 4: Left fielder Carl Crawford hit his first grand slam and left-hander Scott Kazmir fought off a virus to pitch into the seventh. The Rays swept the Yankees (albeit it a two-game series) for the first time since 2000 and just the second time in 10 seasons.

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Akinori Iwamura will miss at least a month after straining his right oblique during Monday's game. Iwamura was ninth in the AL with a .339 average and led the Rays with a .479 on-base percentage.

--INF Ty Wigginton appears likely to get most of the playing time at third with Akinori Iwamura sidelined. The Rays will use Carlos Pena and Jorge Cantu at first, where Wigginton had been playing.

--RHP Shawn Camp appears to be getting out of his early-season slump, caused by an inability to keep his sinker down. He has made five straight scoreless outings, and lowered his ERA from 15.63 to 6.00.

--RHP Al Reyes converted his seventh consecutive save. He had only six saves in his first 11 major league seasons.

--LF Carl Crawford hit his first career grand slam -- and took his first career curtain call -- in the seventh inning Tuesday. "With the timing and what it did for us to win the game, it was probably the best home run I ever hit," Crawford said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12 -- Strikeouts by RHP James Shields on Sunday, tying a team record.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's only 442 (feet) because something stopped it. On the moon that'd be circling right now." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon, on Travis Hafner's massive home run on Saturday.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH: 3B Akinori Iwamura (straining right oblique) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 24. He will miss four to six weeks.

INF/DH Greg Norton (surgery on torn medial meniscus in right knee) is expected to be out until May. He opened the season on the disabled list.

RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.

RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.


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