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Rays set post-break rotation

Posted Jul 7, 2007 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Jul 7, 2007 at 07:47 PM

KANSAS CITY—With Jim Hickey rejoining the team today after missing the last 12 games, the Rays finally set their rotation coming out of the All-Star break. J.P. Howell will be skipped the first time through. He’ll be available out of the bullpen until he needs to begin his preparation for a start in the doubleheader against the Yankees two weeks from today. The other pitcher on that day is to be determined. Here’s how it breaks down:

7/12 vs. NYY: James Shields vs. Andy Pettitte
7/13 vs. NYY: Scott Kazmir vs. Roger Clemens
7/14 vs. NYY: Andy Sonnanstine vs. Chien-Ming Wang
7/15 vs. NYY: Edwin Jackson vs. Mike Mussina
7/16 Off
7/17 vs. LAA: Shields
7/18 vs. LAA: Kazmir
7/19 vs. LAA: Sonnanstine
7/20 at NYY: Jackson
7/21 at NYY (DH): Howell & TBD
7/22 at NYY: Shields

Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays believe Jackson has made more progress recently than Howell, so he stays in while Howell waits a while. As for the other starter in that doubleheader, it will either be someone coming up from the minors or someone from the bullpen. Not long ago, Jason Hammel would have been an easy fit there, but the Rays like what they’ve seen from him in relief and want to continue to see how he looks in more of a setup role.

“I don’t want to do that,” Maddon said of committing to a Hammel start that day. “We’ve talked about that, but I just think he’s too valuable right now to take out of the nightly mix. For me, I really have a lot of confidence in him. I think he’s doing a pretty nice job, so I don’t want to lose him out of our mix for that period of time and just pigeonhole him for that one day.”

That said, there is still a possibility he might get the call depending on how things play out.

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