08/27/12 8:53 PM ET
Niemann rejoins Rays, close to activation
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Niemann, who has been on the disabled list since May 15 after fracturing his right fibula, will not be activated until the Rays expand their roster Saturday.
Niemann's injury occurred when he took a batted ball off his right leg during a game in Toronto. If that wasn't bad enough luck, he again got hit by a batted ball while making his fourth rehab start pitching for Triple-A Durham on Saturday.
"I was definitely scared," said Niemann, explaining that the ball hit him on his right hand then ricocheted to hit him on his left forearm.
Niemann left the game and X-rays were negative. While heading to get his hand X-rayed, some bad thoughts were rattling around in his head.
"[I'm thinking] here we are again," Niemann said. "Here I am again, sitting in a car leaving the stadium, going to a hospital. And it was throbbing. It was the exact same thing [as in Toronto] and it was almost too surreal. ... Luckily everything turned out good. I was doing the same thing I was doing in Toronto, telling myself everything was fine. This time it paid off."
Rodriguez's return in doubt after breaking hand
ARLINGTON -- Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez's status for the remainder of the season is in question after he fractured his right hand punching a locker Sunday following the game in which played for Triple-A Durham.
"I just know that he hurt his hand," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "... I know he hit something ... in the clubhouse. I don't know why it happened. I don't know how it happened. I just know that it did happen."
Rodriguez is scheduled to see the team's hand specialist, Dr. Doug Carlan, on Tuesday.
Rodriguez was sent down last week to make room for Luke Scott returning from the disabled list. Rodriguez would have been recalled Saturday when the Rays expand their roster.
"He was going to play [upon his return]," Maddon said. "It's just too bad because he really fits in really well right now. We sent him down with specific ideas and instructions on what to work on regarding coming back and when he was going to come back. It was all set up. Everything was there, man. It's just unfortunate that this happened, because, especially against left-handed pitchers, he's a big part of what we do here."
Maddon said he was not sure how bad the injury is, so he does not know whether he will be able to rejoin the team down the stretch.
Rays decide not to give Cobb extra rest
ARLINGTON -- There had been some question regarding the Rays' rotation and whether manager Joe Maddon would decide to shuffle it after David Price and James Shields pitched the first two games of the Rangers series.
Maddon thought about not having Alex Cobb start Wednesday to give him additional rest following his shutout Friday night. Now Maddon and company have decided to keep the rotation intact.
"We're going to stick with Cobb right there," Maddon said. "But we are going through some exercises how we're going to set it up."
With Jeff Niemann set to rejoin the team once the roster is expanded Saturday, the Rays plan to incorporate him into their pitching plans.
"The fact that Niemann is going to come back into it also can have some impact," Maddon said. "But right now, I do know we're staying with the normal rotation for right now. But there's going to be creative ways for us to give other guys a day here or there based on the fact that Jeff is coming back."
Maddon explained some of the plan for how Niemann might be used.
"Possibly pop him in there for a start in order to give other guys a rest," Maddon said. "The other guys have been pitching really well. [Niemann has] been stretched out into the fourth inning, 70 to 80 pitches, so, again, you have to be sure you have everything in order.
"Probably have enough bullpen help for him to start in case it goes awry or goes good. You just want to have everything covered so you don't mess things up going into the last month of the season."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.