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Upton on disabled list, Young goes to CF
By MARC TOPKIN
Published June 14, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - The Devil Rays were hoping to get 2B/CF B.J. Upton back in the lineup by the end of the week. Now they might be fortunate to have him back by the end of the month.
The Rays put Upton on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday (retroactive to June 9) after an MRI exam of the left quad he strained Friday showed he wasn't ready to return. OF Jonny Gomes was recalled.
"It's disappointing, " Upton said. "The way it felt I didn't think it would be this long."
Neither did the Rays, who initially expected Upton to miss only a few days. "He's moving around relatively well, but we're just concerned about the long haul, " manager Joe Maddon said. "Pushing him right now just wasn't necessary."
Upton, hitting .320 with nine homers and 31 RBIs, could be out another two to three weeks. Gomes, sent down May 28, hit .302 in 13 games at Triple-A Durham.
CENTER OF ATTENTION: Rookie Delmon Young wasn't happy about being moved to centerfield with Upton and Elijah Dukes unavailable, wondering aloud why veteran backup Damon Hollins wasn't retained.
"That's how I feel about playing centerfield, " Young said. "I'll do it because I have to, but I prefer to be in right."
With his options limited, Maddon said he chose to move Young rather than displace veteran leftfielder Carl Crawford. "I'd just like to leave Carl alone, " Maddon said. "I think Delmon, he's kind of amenable to the whole situation. I just don't want to mess with Carl's vibe on the field."
A GOOD SORE: LHP Scott Kazmir said the strained muscle between the index and middle fingers on his pitching hand likely will bother him for the next month.
And he thinks it will be a good thing. Kazmir said the strain, which occurred during a play at the plate Tuesday, forces him to slightly alter his grip on the ball, and he liked the way it felt. "I think it's going to help, " Kazmir said. "I threw some nasty sliders after that."
ROCCO'S RETURN: CF Rocco Baldelli could go on a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as Saturday, but likely wouldn't rejoin the team until after the next road trip Baldelli got six at-bats as the DH in an extended spring game Wednesday, but hasn't played the field, which is a key step. "Once he's back, we really want him to play defense, " Maddon said.
SIGNING UP: Sixth-round draft pick Emeel Salem, a centerfielder from Alabama, signed, as did RHP Kevin Brophy (21st round) and RHP Kevin Chavez (34th).
MISCELLANY: LHP Chris Seddon, a once-promising prospect who was designated for assignment June 4, was claimed off waivers by the Marlins. ... As the Twins seek a trade to upgrade their offense, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports again, "the name we keep hearing out at the Metrodome is Ty Wigginton." ... Demoted RHP Jae Seo pitched well in his first game for Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, allowing one run in four innings. ... It appears the Rays won't face Randy Johnson next week in Arizona.