Devil Rays Inside Pitch 4/28

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

The most important news of the day for the Devil Rays came hours before first pitch. X-rays and a doctor's exam showed that center fielder Rocco Baldelli's right knee was only bruised badly and that he could return to the lineup as soon as Sunday. "It feels a lot better since the doctor said everything was pretty much negative," Baldelli said. "It's just swollen and bruised and I think it will be just fine." Baldelli was injured when he ran into the outfield wall in Anaheim on Thursday, and there was some concern based on the swelling and discoloration that he could be seriously injured.

Elijah Dukes started in center field and batted leadoff on Friday, and likely will again Saturday in Baldelli's place, but that could be the extent of his absence. "We're fine," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'd rather give him the time to truly get better as opposed to push it."

Baldelli has been sidelined frequently by injuries, including a right hamstring strain in spring training. "I'm going to come back as fast as I can," he said.

RAYS 4, A'S 1: James Shields came up huge for the Rays, working eight strong innings as they rebounded from a poor showing in Anaheim. Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton each doubled in a run, and the Rays used a double-steal to create two others without a hit.


LHP Casey Fossum starts against the A's on Saturday determined to keep using his sinker in key situations and getting ahead of the usually patient Oakland hitters. In 23 1/3 innings, Fossum has walked only three. "I just think from spring training to this point the big difference is his ability to throw strikes and get ahead in counts," manager Joe Maddon said.

RHP Jae Seo's rotation spot is not in danger despite his 1-2, 9.51 start, but manager Joe Maddon planned to talk with him "to pump him up a little bit." Maddon's biggest question is why Seo seems to have had a slight drop in velocity. "He's pitched okay, just not what I had expected to this point," Maddon said.

RF Delmon Young drew a third-inning walk, just his third in 95 plate appearances this season.

RHP James Shields set a franchise record with 37 strikeouts in April, though LHP Scott Kazmir can take it back on Sunday -- he has 27.

RHP Al Reyes converted his eighth consecutive save, matching Roberto Hernandez's 1999 team record.

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.



CF Rocco Baldelli (right leg contusion) left the game April 26, and he likely will sit out a few days.

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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