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05/26/09 7:59 PM ET

Neck stiffness stalls Burrell's return

Date not yet set for designated hitter to rejoin Rays

CLEVELAND -- Pat Burrell's return from the disabled list due to a strained neck may take longer than expected.

Burrell, who has been on the DL since May 12 and has missed the last 15 games, was expected to return during Tampa Bay's four-game series with the Indians, but that won't happen.

"He's still stiff," manager Joe Maddon said. "We actually had to cancel today's early hitting because of that. It's still not loosening up like we thought it would be by this particular juncture. We have to push that back a couple of days."

It's unclear when the Rays' designated hitter will begin resuming activities in his comeback.

"I don't have an immediate next date set yet," Maddon said. "I don't think it's too far in the future."

Burrell, who signed as a free agent in January, is batting .250 with one homer and 17 RBIs in 30 games.

Gabe Gross, who homered in his first start this season at DH on Monday night, was back in that role Tuesday night.

Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.