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TB@BOS: Odorizzi tosses 5 2/3 strong frames at Fenway

Jake Odorizzi did not expect to don a Rays uniform again until rosters expanded in September, but circumstances change and Odorizzi will start Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

While Odorizzi is elated to be back with the Rays, he knows he has a job to do.

"You know if you're up here, you have to produce and keep us in it," Odorizzi said. "That's my thought process right now."

If the right-hander pitches anything like he did the last time he started for the Rays, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings in Boston on June 18, then the club expects to be just fine.

"It's good for him to come back," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We have a good idea with what we want to do with him tomorrow. He probably feels pretty good about the moment based on what he did in Boston. It should work."

As the Rays, who are 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East, look to keep pace in the playoff chase, the Angels will turn to Jason Vargas as they try to win their second straight series.

Vargas will be making his fourth start since missing nearly two months with a blood clot in his left armpit area.

Although the left-hander's first two starts back from the disabled list left a lot to be desired, he was sharp in his last outing.

Vargas allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in a win against the Mariners and is hoping for more of the same Thursday.

"I don't know if I felt any different [than the other two starts,]" Vargas said. "I was able to execute more often than not. That's always better than not being able to."

Angels: Trout stepping up
Once again Mike Trout has proven how good he really is.

When the season began, there were doubts as to whether Trout could repeat his historic rookie season and he answered the call. Then, when Albert Pujols suffered a partial tear of his plantar fascia, people wondered how Trout would respond without Pujols' protection in the order.

Since Pujols went down on July 27, Trout is hitting .360 with six home runs.

"He's hitting the ball well, too, but there's no doubt about teams circling his name and not wanting him to be the guy that beats you," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Sometimes you need someone behind you to get your at-bats, get your swings, get your pitches to hit."

Rays: Time running out for Crain
The Rays knew Jesse Crain was hurt when they acquired him, but they hoped he'd be healthy for the stretch run.

However, Crain has yet to throw off a mound -- something he'd like to do four or five times before returning -- and may not pitch again this season.

"He's kind of stuck right now," Maddon said. "It's not getting worse, it's not getting better. We probably need to see some significant movement within the next week or so."

Worth noting
• Ben Zobrist has had some success against Vargas in his career as he is hitting .368 (7-for-19).

• Shoulder pain caused Josh Hamilton to exit Tuesday's game in the ninth inning and limited him to the DH role on Wednesday. Comments