tampabay.com

Maddon expects recalls to play key roles

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published May 9, 2007


BALTIMORE -- Newly recalled Rays relievers Tim Corcoran and Chad Orvella might figure into the crucial late-inning moments that have decided many of Tampa Bay's losses -- eventually.

After struggling RHP Ruddy Lugo was optioned to Triple-A Durham and RHP Juan Salas was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, the Rays bullpen takes a much different look, but manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that he will keep the roles the same for now, with RHPs Shawn Camp, Brian Stokes and Al Reyes handling the pivotal late-inning situations.

But Corcoran and Orvella could work into that mix in time.

"These other guys are interesting," Maddon said. "I believe these other guys physically have the ability to pitch late into the game. It's just going to be contingent on where they're at mentality and physically and see what we can get from them, but I'm not going to shy away from either one."

Corcoran and Orvella, who both flourished out of the pen in Durham, were among the last cuts this spring. Corcoran, who pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday, was 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA at Durham in 10 relief appearances. "My arm feels good," Corcoran said. "I was just going out there and making them swing the bat."

Orvella, who followed Corcoran on Tuesday and allowed one run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, was 1-0 with a 2.76 ERA and five saves in 12 appearances. He said his focus was on gaining the arm strength and mental toughness to pitch on back-to-back days.

SWINGING PINK: Several Rays players will use pink bats to raise breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day this Sunday in Toronto.

More than 200 players across the majors have signed up to use the pink bats, including Rays players Ty Wigginton, Rocco Baldelli, Delmon Young, Elijah Dukes, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena and Dioner Navarro.

"I like it, " Maddon said. "I love my mom. I think it's pretty cool. Everybody digs their mom. I think it's a great tribute to mom, and I kind of like it. I like things like that. I don't think it interferes with the game. And it sends a wonderful message. And I'm okay with it."

MINOR MATTERS: At Durham, RHP Jeff Niemann pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs on eight hits Tuesday. He struck out five and walked two. ... Greg Norton, on a rehab assignment at Double-A Montgomery, sat for a second straight game in the Biscuits' day game Tuesday and was scheduled to see a doctor for the soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. Since reporting to Montgomery, Norton has played in two of five games. ... At Class A Vero Beach, LHP Jake McGee allowed three runs on three hits over five innings, striking out five and walking four Tuesday.

MISCELLANY: 2B Upton extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a seventh-inning single. ... Upton is hitting .366 and led the AL heading into Tuesday's late games.