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Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange
Lack of support dooms Shields · Notes, Quotes · Roster Report

--INF Elliot Johnson is going to get a larger share of playing time at shortstop with Reid Brignac continuing to struggle. Manager Joe Maddon said he hadn't worked out a specific plan, but "you're going to see more of Elliot. Let's put it that way. ... I think he's done a nice job." Brignac is hitting just .179; Johnson, after going 1-for-3 Tuesday with his second homer, is batting .260 overall, including .353 over his last five starts.

--RHP Jeremy Hellickson will be on a bit of a shorter leash Wednesday in Toronto after throwing a career-high 120 pitches in his last outing Friday, when he threw a shutout. The 24-year-old rookie likely will be limited to 100-105 pitches.

--LHP J.P. Howell appears set to rejoin the Rays on Friday after making his final scheduled rehab appearance Tuesday for Class A Charlotte, throwing 27 pitches over 11/3 innings and allowing a run on two hits. "As of right now, he's all set to go," manager Joe Maddon said. Howell has been sidelined since having left shoulder surgery in May 2010.

--3B Evan Longoria was 0-for-4, dropping him to .111 (with no extra-base hits) over his last four games. Longoria, who spent a month on the disabled list with a strained oblique, said he feels fine but is swinging at the wrong pitches.

--RHP Andy Sonnanstine definitely will make a third start Friday at Florida. The Rays want to give him another chance to show improvement on the mound, and they want to take advantage of his hitting ability (a .318 career average) while playing under NL rules.

15 -- Times the Rays have scored three or fewer runs in 24 games at Tropicana Field.

"It's kind of weird. Over the last few years we had that so-called home-field advantage, and now it's almost like we have road-field advantage. ... We've definitely got to get better at home, no doubt about it." -- RHP James Shields, on the Rays' 11-13 home record, compared to 13-5 on the road.

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