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Rays

Hellickson says he's good to make start

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 07:37 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

RHP Jeremy Hellickson threw his usual between-starts bullpen Monday afternoon and pronounced himself ready to start Thursday night in Cleveland.

Hellickson, who left his start Saturday night with a bruised right shin after being struck by a line drive by Detroit's Prince Fielder, threw 40 pitches and said the injury was not an issue.

"Everything went good. It's still a little sore, I guess, but it's tolerable," Hellickson said. "I went out and threw my bullpen just fine."

Hellickson, who pitched with the leg heavily taped, said based on the way the shin felt Monday, he expects even less pain Thursday.

"It's night and day compared to (Sunday)," Hellickson said.

Manager Joe Maddon said before the game that he needed to talk with the training staff before announcing Hellickson fit for Thursday's game. That RHP Chris Archer started Monday night for Triple-A Durham is a good indication Hellickson will be able to make his start.

Matsui hurts hamstring

The injuries just keeping coming for the Rays.

RF Hideki Matsui became the third Ray in the past four games to leave because of an injury when he was removed in the second inning Monday because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Matsui, making his fifth start in right this season, overran a high fly by Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira in the first inning that fell in for a double. In the top of the second, Matsui made a long run for a ball that landed in the seats beyond the Rays bullpen.

Matsui was playing right because Maddon was trying to get as many left-handed hitters in the lineup against RHP Freddy Garcia.

"With (LHP Matt) Moore being a fly ball pitcher, I'm going against the grain a little bit," Maddon said. "You'd want to have the top outfield out there, but he's held his own out there recently, too. … He may not be as fast as some of those guys, but technically he's a very good outfielder."

Here comes the bride

On Monday morning, C Jose Lobaton married fiancée Nina Dominguez at home plate at Tropicana Field.

The two planned on getting married Monday by a justice of the peace, but 1B Carlos Peña's wife, Pamela, convinced them to get married at the stadium, and Rays VP of communications Rick Vaughn found a notary to perform the ceremony.

A red carpet led the couple to home plate. The Peñas stood in for the bride and groom.

Lobaton is the second member of the team to be married at home plate.

Senior adviser Don Zimmer and his wife, Soot, were married at home plate Aug. 16, 1951, in Elmira, N.Y. SS Elliot Johnson proposed to his wife, Nicole, while standing between the mound and home plate April 27, 2006, at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala.

Trying not to press

With the offense being what it is — a .201 average and three or less runs scored in the nine games prior to Monday's with the Yankees — it would be understandable if the Rays' starting pitchers found themselves pressing a little too much to not allow any runs.

RHP James Shields, who faces the Yankees tonight, said it hasn't gotten to that point yet.

"You just have to do your part as a player on this team," Shields said. "If everybody does their part, I think it kind of goes hand-in-hand with winning. Right now we're not playing very good baseball and we need to pick it up. Obviously, it's one step at a time. We're not panicking or anything like that. We definitely know we have to get better all around."

Shields tied a team record by allowed 14 hits in his last start, a 5-2 loss to the Tigers that kicked off this homestand.

"I just got to get better with my location," Shields said. "Obviously the numbers didn't show, but I felt I pitched OK against them as far as my pitch sequence. I got to make better pitches. I can't leave pitches over the dish. They're going to capitalize on them. This is a good team."

Noteworthy

RF Matt Joyce (left external oblique strain) said he can come off the disabled list when the Rays are in Cleveland. "That's possible," Maddon said. … The Rays signed Venezuelan RHP Jose Mujica for $1 million. Mujica turned 16 last week. … Stephen Vogt was placed on the Durham disabled list with concussion symptoms. … RHP Jhonny Nuñez was released. … DH Luke Scott was 0-for-2 Monday before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He has one hit since May 30.

Roger Mooney

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