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 send Niemann, Davis home for shoulder exams
Posted Aug 8, 2010 by Tribune Sports
Updated Aug 8, 2010 at 02:41 PM
By TONY FABRIZIO
TORONTO The Rays have sent starting pitchers Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis back to St. Petersburg today for “precautionary” examinations of their sore right shoulders tomorrow by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton.
Niemann skipped his scheduled start today, and Davis’ next start Tuesday in Detroit is in jeopardy.
Long-relief specialist Andy Sonnanstine is making his first start of the season today, and top prospect Jeremy Hellickson is on call at Triple-A Durham in case he’s needed to fill in for Davis.
“Both of them have been experiencing the same kind of posterior shoulder soreness,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We don’t think either one is a long-term situation of any kind, but we want to make sure before we put them out there.”
Niemann first experienced the extra soreness Wednesday, the day after his last start, and it lingered into the weekend. Davis lacked the usual zip on his fastball in his last start Thursday, although both Davis and Maddon said at the time the pitcher was fine.
Maddon conceded that while tomorrow’s exams are precautionary, there’s also some concern.
“These are two really valuable people and players for us,” he said. “Jeff keeps telling me ‘I feel better, I feel better.’ But he wasn’t quite able to get over the hump, so we want to make sure. It’s almost the same thing with both of them. They just need to be looked at. We all need to know that we’re not going to hurt them by pitching them.”
The Rays have lost four in a row and will try to avoid a sweep today at the Rogers Centre after getting thumped 17-11 yesterday. All-Star left fielder Carl Crawford is back in the lineup after getting a couple of days off his feet on the artificial turf.
Here are the lineups:
Ben Zobrist, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Dan Johnson, 1B
Matt Joyce, DH
John Jaso, C
B.J. Upton, CF
Reid Brignac, 2B
Jason Bartlett, SS
Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (2-0, 4.22 ERA)
Dewayne Wise, LF
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Jose Molina, C
Brandon Morrow, RHP (8-6, 4.79