Triple-A rehab for Wigginton

Published August 28, 2006

BALTIMORE - The Devil Rays sent Ty Wigginton to Triple-A Durham on Sunday in hopes of having him back in their lineup by Friday.

Wigginton's left hand (fractured July 29) felt good after a second day of batting practice in the indoor tunnel Sunday, so the Rays quickly put him on a flight so he could start playing tonight to test it and get back into game shape, with the expectation he will be activated when rosters expand Friday.

"There's not a specific time frame involvement, I just want him to be able to get his timing and feel good at the plate and tell me that his hand feels good," manager Joe Maddon said. "It could be a couple, three, four days. It's going to be real close (to Friday). That's about right."

Wigginton, who ranks second on the team with 18 homers and third with 57 RBIs despite missing 27 games, said he would have preferred to stay with the big-league team and doesn't think he will need until Friday to be ready.

"I'm fine with it and I understand, but of course you'd rather not go," Wigginton said. "The shorter the better. I'm hoping sooner (than Friday). I'll get down there feeling good, and all I can do is let them know I feel good and I'm ready to go."

When Wigginton comes back he is expected to resume his utility role, playing almost every day while shuttling between first, second and third base and the outfield.

GOMES DONE? Designated hitter Jonny Gomes will have his sore right shoulder examined today in Cincinnati by Dr. Tim Kremchek.

Gomes, who hit 17 homers in his first 63 games and three in the 68 since, has resigned himself to season-ending surgery to reduce an impingement and correct other damage, and figures to have it soon so he will be fully recovered by spring training.

He has been examined by Rays orthopedic physician Koco Eaton and said he is seeing Kremchek, the Reds' doctor, for a second opinion at the request of his agent. Gomes said the surgery likely would include shaving a bone in his shoulder joint.

"We're just looking for the right answer," Maddon said. "He and I have talked about it, and we'll just live by what they say (today). From what we know to this point, it's probably going to end up with him having to go on the DL and getting this thing done, but we'll see about that (today)."

MOMENTS OF CONCERN: Centerfielder Rocco Baldelli, who missed more than two months with a left hamstring strain, felt a cramp early in the game, then again running to second in the eighth inning. He said he was confident it was only a cramp and would not keep him from playing Tuesday. . . . Reliever Seth McClung drew Maddon and assistant trainer Paul Harker to the mound when he grabbed his shoulder after a pitch, but hit 100 mph later in the ninth inning. "I'm fine," he said. "I'm fine."

MINOR MATTERS: The Rays are likely to seek Class A affiliations closer to the Tampa Bay area when their agreements with the Visalia Oaks (California League) and SW Michigan Devil Rays (Midwest League) expire after the season. If they go back to SW Michigan, the team will be renamed the Great Lakes Loons as it moves from Battle Creek to a new stadium in Midland. . . . Left-hander Mike Prochaska was promoted from Double-A Montgomery and started for Triple-A Durham Sunday. . . . Jeff Niemann picked up another win Saturday for the first-place Montgomery Biscuits with six strong innings. The 2004 first-round pick is 5-5 with a 2.88 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 25 walks in 72 innings, and has allowed just a .201 average.

MISCELLANY: The Rays were swept for the seventh time, all on the road, and dropped to a season-low 27 games under .500 at 52-79. . . .With Hurricane Ernesto projected to be near the bay area Thursday, the Rays are exploring contingency plans if they have to remain in Chicago. . . . With Carl Crawford not in the starting lineup, Maddon moved switch-hitter Dioner Navarro up to third in the order for the first time . . . The Rays have lost 14 of their past 18 at Camden Yards. . . . Pitcher Jae Seo is making progress in his recovery from a strained left groin and could be back in the rotation around Sept. 10.