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Rocco held back again

Posted Mar 27, 2007 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Mar 27, 2007 at 10:32 AM

It’ll be one more day for Rocco Baldelli, who has now missed a week with hamstring tightness. He was supposed to DH in a minor-league game today but will instead continue with his treatment and workouts at the Trop before hitting the field tomorrow at the Naimoli Complex. Why the delay?

“It was up in the air anyway, which day we were going to do it,” he said.

Baldelli said he’ll get as many at-bats “as I feel I need” in the minor-league game today. The Rays would like him to take Thursday off, then play Friday and Saturday so he’ll be ready to start the season, but Baldelli’s taking it one step at a time.

“I’m going to see how tomorrow goes,” he said. “Hopefully everything goes well—I plan on it going well. And then we’ll plan from there.”

The good injury news of the day is that Carl Crawford has returned. He’ll lead off and play left field.

Also some news that you may choose to read into a bit: The Rays likely will name their fifth starter tomorrow after tonight’s pow-wow, but they already have scheduled Edwin Jackson to start Thursday against the Red Sox. The other contender, J.P. Howell, will pitch tomorrow, but it remains to be determined where. Scott Kazmir is in line to start against the Phillies, so Howell may end up in the minor-league game.

My gut feeling at this point is the Rays want to see what Jackson can do as a starter, so he’ll get the nod there with perhaps Gary Glover and/or Tim Corcoran in the bullpen for long work. That way they’d have Howell on a regular schedule in Durham and ready to come up if Casey Fossum suffers a setback or Jackson suddenly loses his touch. They definitely like what they’ve seen from Howell this spring, though.


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