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Rays Notebook: Maddon must juggle rotation again

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 03:01 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

The Tampa Bay Rays have juggled their rotation this week and could do it again next week as they prepare for the upcoming home series with the Boston Red Sox that kicks off the next homestand.

RHP Andy Sonnanstine will start Friday against the Mariners in Seattle and could start again next week as the Rays try to set up some order of LHP David Price, RHP James Shields and RHP Jeremy Hellickson for the Red Sox, who visit Tropicana Field on June 14, 15 and 16.

"It relates down the road," manager Joe Maddon said. "The rainout caused us to do something at some point, and we chose to do it in Seattle with Sonny, and moving forward we'll try to re-adjust things again, and part of that is to put Shields and Price in the optimal positions against the other teams."

As it stands through Monday in Anaheim, the rotation looks like this: Price, Shields, Sonnanstine, Hellickson, RHP Wade Davis and Price.

RHP Alex Cobb, who started Tuesday night against the Rangers, could follow Price and face the Angels on Tuesday night. Or, he could stay in the rotation and Sonnanstine could pitch the makeup with the Tigers on June 13 in Detroit. That would push Shields back a day for the opener against the Red Sox.

If Price stays on a five-day schedule, he would pitch the series finale against Boston. Hellickson is scheduled for the middle game.

"There's a lot of tomfoolery going on there to set it up the way we want to get it done," Maddon said.

Long night for S-Rod

On Monday, SS Sean Rodriguez became the sixth player in team history to commit three errors in one game. Two came on throws, the other on a grounder off his glove.

"After the third one I was kind of frustrated there," he said. "I actually almost said, 'You know what? Don't hit me another ground ball.' The next hitter actually hit it to me, and I made that play like I hadn't made an error all game, but that's just how it goes."

Rodriguez joins SS Kevin Stocker (2000), SS Jason Smith (2002), 3B Alex Gonzalez (2005), SS Josh Wilson (2007) and C Dioner Navarro (2009) for the dubious hat trick.

Rodriguez also gave the Rays their first multi-error game of the season, snapping a major league-record streak of 52 games from the start of the season with no more than one error.

Rodriguez said he was glad to return to shortstop Tuesday night.

"You just relax and say I can go back out there and do it like I do it every other night and do what we've been known to do on this team, which is play defense," he said. "You don't want to think about it, but you want to remember that you did that."

Price and the Rangers

Price, who starts this afternoon, has not beaten the Rangers in five regular-season starts plus two in the 2010 ALDS. His 7.45 ERA against them is his highest ERA against an AL team.

Price said he is not concerned about his history with the Rangers. He just hopes to find the confidence he had for much of 2010 and again during his last start when he threw seven shutout innings against the Indians.

"It starts whenever I wake up. I have that mentality when I get out of bed, get after somebody on this field," he said. "I don't know how you get it. That's something you learn, and I don't think I learned it yet."

Noteworthy

RHP Jeff Niemann will begin his minor-league rehab Friday in Port Charlotte for the Class A Stone Crabs. He will throw four innings or 60 pitches. … IF Elliot Johnson (left knee sprain) will join the Rays on the upcoming road trip and should be activated before the Rays return to the Trop. … Maddon said 1B Casey Kotchman (sprained right ankle) has progressed to the point he can pinch-hit. … UTL Ben Zobrist hit leadoff Tuesday. Maddon said he hopes batting leadoff has the same affect on the slumping Zobrist as it had on 3B Evan Longoria.

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