Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays @ Jays: Johnson’s face, Niemann returns, lineups
Posted Sep 1, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Sep 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Elliot Johnson’s battle scars as tweeted this morning by David Price
TORONTO Elliot Johnson was the subject of some good natured kidding in the clubhouse this morning.
“How’s he doing? Just look at him,” Evan Longoria said.
Sam Fuld called Johnson “Two-Face,” which is a character from “Batman.”
Leave it to Fuld to come up with the best nickname because as you can see from the above photo tweeted this morning by David Price, Johnson has cuts on one side of his face while the other is its normal handsome self.
Johnson’s teammates kid because the facial cuts and a bruised right hip are Johnson’s badges of honor for trying to knock the ball loose from Blue Jays catcher Jeff Mathis during the ninth inning of Friday’s 2-1 loss.
Johnson was out and the game ended.
He passed the postgame concussion test but had trouble sleeping. Putting the contact in his left eye this morning was a chore because of swelling just below the eye.
How does he think he looks?
“It’s pretty gross,” Johnson said.
But, he can play today if needed, though he said the hip soreness will prevent him from running at 100 percent.
The Rays look to stop a two-game slid this afternoon against the Jays and, at the very least, keep pace with the A’s and Orioles in the Wild Card standings. They begin the day 3 1/5 games behind the Wild Card-leading A’s and 2 ½ games behind the Orioles, who currently hold the second Wild Card spot.
Jeff Niemann returns from the disabled list today and will make his first start since suffering a fractured right fibula after being struck by a comebacker from Jays DH Adam Lind at the Rogers Centre on May 14.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Will Rhymes was designated for assignment.
Carlos Peña, who’s pinch-hit single in the ninth inning Friday sent Johnson home in an effort to tie the score, is back in the lineup after sitting the last three games.
Longoria is the DH.
Here are the lineups:
Niemann RHP (2-3, 3.38)
Alvarez RHP (7-11, 4.97)