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Niemann ready to join the fun

Posted Apr 12, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Apr 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Jeff Niemann finally gets a chance to play in a game this year when he makes his first start of the season this afternoon during the finale of this three-game series with the Tigers at sun-drenched Comerica Park.

He is the last Ray to see the field.

“I’m anxious to go out there and get the first one under my belt. Keep on rolling,” Niemann said. “They’ve got some guys in the middle there that can obviously do some damage. And the rest of their hitters are pretty solid. I just have to go out there and make my pitches.”

Niemann said the blister on his right middle finger that caused him to miss a start in spring training is no longer an issue. He pitched in the “Future Rays” game last Wednesday and threw a pair of bullpens in anticipation of today’s start.

“It’s normal,” he said. “I think being in the cold is actually going to help, because I won’t get as sweaty. It’s not going to create the softness in the skin, so it’s going to be dry. Everything should be OK.”

Niemann faces lefty Drew Smyly, who is making his major league debut.

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