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Rays

Niemann out for 'a little while'

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 03:15 PM
BALTIMORE -

Manager Joe Maddon said Friday that RHP Jeff Niemann's stay on the disabled list will run longer than 15 days and could be as long as a month.

"It's going to be a little while," Maddon said. "We're going to shut him down for one week, and then he'll start to gradually get back into the swing of things. I'm looking at probably a minimum of three weeks before we get a good idea of what's going to happen next."

The Rays recalled OF Brandon Guyer to fill Niemann's spot on the roster, but they will have to add another pitcher, perhaps as early as Tuesday, when Niemann was due to pitch against the Indians in Cleveland.

With Monday's off day, the Rays could move the rotation up a day, but Maddon said that is not an option because he wants LHP David Price and RHP James Shields to face the Yankees on May 16 and 17.

"We're probably not (going to change). We're probably going to start someone on Tuesday," Maddon said.

RHP Andy Sonnanstine could start if he's not needed during this series with the Orioles. If so, the Rays will replace Sonnanstine's spot in the bullpen with a reliever from Triple-A Durham.

"It depends on how the games roll with our bullpen, too," Maddon said. "Bullpen usage will have something to do with when we have to make the next move."

Or, the Rays might dip into the Durham rotation. It won't be RHP Alex Cobb, though, because he can't be recalled until 10 days after he was sent down, and he was optioned to Durham on May 3.

Super Sam sits

LF Sam Fuld, 2-for-35 in his last seven games, did not start Friday against Baltimore lefty Zach Britton.

"I don't know if I feel like I need (a rest)," Fuld said. "I feel like it's a good way to kind of recharge your batteries. Physically I feel pretty good. I might be more mentally tired than physically tired. It's been a rough week or so."

Fuld's average has dropped from .350 to .261 during the slump. One reason is he's hitting too many fly balls, which Maddon said is a sign of someone who is physically tired.

"He's just too much in the air right now, and they're running the ball down," Maddon said. "He's not going to hit the ball over the wall. We just got to get his range of trajectory down a little bit and get him more on a line. Contact's good. Eye at the plate is good. Everything's good, he's just been in the air too much, and sometimes that is the residue of a little bit of fatigue with smaller guys."

Hellickson rested

RHP Jeremy Hellickson starts today against the Orioles, two days after he was scheduled to start against the Blue Jays. Hellickson was skipped in order to decrease the time between starts for Price and Shields.

"It's definitely going to help me more than it's going to hurt me," Hellickson said of the extra rest. "I don't think it's a big imposition."

Noteworthy

CF B.J. Upton is expected to hear from the commissioner's office today regarding his blowup Wednesday at home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Shari Elliott, 35, of Bradenton is the Rays winner of MLB's and Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Honorary Bat Girl contest. She will throw out the first pitch May 15. … LHP J.P. Howell struck out one and walked one Thursday while pitching an innings for Durham during the Triple A portion of his rehab. … The Rays roster now contains five players acquired during offseason trades — Guyer and Fuld for Matt Garza and Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos and Brandon Gomes for Jason Bartlett.

Roger Mooney

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