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04/25/07 10:00 PM ET
Notes: Cantu glad to be back in the bigs
Infielder recalled from Buffalo to fill in for injured Iwamura
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Jorge Cantu returned to the Devil Rays from Triple-A Durham on Monday. The Rays infielder got the call from Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo early Monday when he was at a mall in Durham. He quickly threw some things together and made the flight back to St. Petersburg to rejoin the team. "I'm just happy to be back," Cantu said. "You've got to understand, being down there you realize how much hungrier you are to be here. I was down there, doing my job, being positive, playing good. ... [Akinori Iwamura] went on the DL -- that's the reason I'm here. But I'm looking at it as a second opportunity. "I missed it, being up here. If it's not here, another organization would be fine. The thing is, I missed this environment." Cantu returns with more flexibility by adding first base to his skill set. "It's the same side of the field, you know," Cantu said. "It's just a matter of repetitions there. That's how I'm approaching it right now." When asked how comfortable he is at first, Cantu replied: "Just like second." "I'll get used to it," Cantu said. "I'm not giving up second base. That's not happening in my mind." Cantu said he got the disappointment out of his system before he reported to Durham, then he was "all business." "What I have is my bat," Cantu said. "I'm going to defend myself with my bat. Once I get that going again, it doesn't matter where I'm playing in the lineup." Rays manager Joe Maddon said he intends to use Cantu primarily against left-handed pitchers or when "we get a shot." Another scenario would be if Carlos Pena was playing first base, and Maddon wanted to sub for him late in the game, Cantu might be the pinch-hitter or defensive replacement. "I want to see what he looks like. I want to see what he looks like on defense -- even if it is just pregame practice," Maddon said. "He's just part of the bench right now. We'll get him in as often as we can." Beating the Yankees: The Devil Rays woke up on Wednesday morning looking down at the Yankees in the standings. And while it's early in the season, the two-game sweep of the Yankees at Tropicana Field went a long way in the Rays clubhouse. "It definitely helps," Maddon said. "Gives us confidence when we compete with the best teams. With that said, we've got another team tonight. But it definitely keeps our spirits up getting ready to start the game." Crawford said hanging with the good teams is something the Rays need to get used to. "Because of the past," Crawford said. "Because usually when we get in those situations, you just know the other team is going to come back and beat us. So it was nice to pull those games out. Hopefully we can win more like that so we can get used to it. Like where you're not biting your nails out in the outfield." Ty Wigginton said beating the Yankees was important. "Anytime you play your division teams, that's what it boils down to," Wigginton said. "Pretty much when you play in your own division, it counts as two [games] in a sense. The division games, you really want to make sure everything is clicking." Back to third: With Iwamura on the disabled list, Wigginton is back at third base. Wigginton, who has played 366 Major League games at third base (34 games for the Rays in 2006), said the move is not a big deal. "They hit it, I try to catch it," Wigginton said. "It's just a little different. Obviously I play a little deeper. ... It's just going to be a matter of being out there and taking balls there during BP. I don't see it as being a problem." Maddon doesn't see it as a problem either. He said Brendan Harris could see some time at third in Iwamura's absence, but Wigginton will play there primarily, and Pena will play first. "I'm very comfortable [with Wigginton at third]," Maddon said. "I thought he did a nice job there last year when he played third. If you look at Wiggy defensively since we've had him, he's made very few errors. He's actually made some very good plays. You look at him and he's not the most graceful of third basemen or first basemen, but he gets the job done. He catches the ball, he throws accurately -- he's fearless. He makes throws in crucial situations. I'm very comfortable with him playing anywhere on the field. I trust Wiggy totally. Yankees in July: The Rays' April 4 game against the Yankees that was rained out in New York has been rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader for Saturday, July 21. The first game will be played at 1 p.m. ET, the nightcap will begin at 7. Up next: The Rays will wrap up their two-game series with the Angels on Thursday afternoon in a 3:35 ET contest. Right-hander Jae Seo will start for the Rays and will be opposed by Angels right-hander Bartolo Colon.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.