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News briefs: Rays activate lefty closer J.P. Howell

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- Left-hander J.P. Howell has been activated by the Tampa Bay Rays, one year and one day after he underwent surgery to repair a left shoulder injury that sidelined him all of last season.

Howell was a key member of Tampa Bay's AL championship team in 2008, and he had 17 saves in 2009.

The Rays also optioned right-hander Rob Delaney to Triple-A Durham on Friday. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano's contract was selected from Durham, and infielder Dan Johnson was designated for assignment. Full Story

D-Backs to release Branyan

PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks are releasing first baseman Russell Branyan to relieve a three-man logjam at first base.

Manager Kirk Gibson said after the team's 8-7 victory over Minnesota on Friday night that the move would be made Saturday to clear a roster spot for right-hander Micah Owings, who is being brought up from Triple-A Reno to start against the Twins on Saturday night.

The 35-year-old Branyan was one of three first basemen on the roster. His release leaves left-handed batting Juan Miranda and right-handed hitting Xavier Nady to share the spot.

A's place McCarthy, Ross on DL

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Athletics placed right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Tyson Ross on the 15-day disabled list.

The A's also optioned reliever Trystan Magnuson to Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. Right-handers Joey Devine and Fautino De Los Santos and lefty Jerry Blevins were recalled from Sacramento.

McCarthy has a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder that has sidelined him in the past. Ross left Thursday's game against the Minnesota Twins with a strained left side after throwing seven pitches.

Dodgers' Furcal could return Monday

CHICAGO -- Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal will rejoin the team Saturday to have his knee examined and could return to the field Monday in Houston if all goes well.

Furcal, who has been sidelined since April 11 with a broken thumb, banged his knee while sliding in a rehab game Tuesday with Triple-A Albuquerque.

Furcal is hitting .192 in seven games this season. He is one of several Dodgers nursing injuries.

Jays' Litsch goes on DL

TORONTO -- Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of an impingement in his right shoulder.

The move was made retroactive to Thursday, a day after Litsch was wild in a 6-5 loss to the Rays. He hit two batters, made two errors, had three walks and a wild pitch over five innings.

Litsch, 26, has a 4-3 record and a 4.66 ERA over eight starts this season. He has 36 strikeouts and 18 walks in 46 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays also recalled infielder Mike McCoy from triple-A Las Vegas.

Orioles plan to recall Adams, Reimold

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are planning to recall second baseman Ryan Adams and outfielder Nolan Reimold from Triple-A Norfolk for their interleague game against the Nationals.

The weather forecast could affect the timing of the moves.

The 24-year-old Adams was listed in the starting lineup Friday batting ninth even though the moves were not yet official. He was to make his major league debut.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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