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Rays

Rays more comfortable away from the Trop

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 01:19 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas -

The Rays leave the comforts of Tropicana Field for a place where they are the most comfortable — the road.

The Rays, who begin a three-game series tonight with the West Division-leading Rangers, are 35-27 on the road this season, including 26-15 since June 5.

They are batting .246 away from the Trop as opposed to .225 at home and are scoring a full run more on the road (4.7) than at home (3.7).

"That's the old adage, if you can play .500 at home and .750 on the road, you'll be OK," manager Joe Maddon said after Saturday's 4-2 loss to the A's that gave the Rays a 3-3 record on their six-game homestand.

Actually, the adage is the other way around, but Maddon surely would take a .750 winning percentage on the road for the remainder of the season.

It won't be easy, though. The Rangers have found their offense, scoring at least eight runs in six of their past 11 games and 10 or more runs in four of those games.

"We just got to play at the top of our game," Maddon said.

LHP David Price and RHP James Shields will start the first two games with LHP Matt Moore the likely starter Wednesday, though Maddon won't announce that until today.

Niemann survives scare during rehab

RHP Jeff Niemann took a line drive off his pitching hand during Saturday's rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham but came away uninjured.

"There's no break," Niemann told reporters in Durham after the game.

Niemann, who fractured his right fibula May 14 in Toronto, will join the Rays in Arlington and finish his rehab. He is expected to be activated Saturday when the rosters expand and could find himself starting one of the final two games of the Blue Jays series.

Noteworthy

While the plan is to have Evan Longoria play more games at third base, he could DH tonight against LHP Derek Holland, a move that will give him consecutive days off his feet and allow Jeff Keppinger (.405 average against lefties) a chance to play. … Price and Shields both earned victories when the Rays won two of three from the Rangers in Arlington earlier this season.

Roger Mooney

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