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MIN@TB: Cesar Ramos on his outing vs. the Twins

Tampa Bay will enlist the services of left-hander Cesar Ramos to finish out their series against the Reds on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Ramos, who has been the Rays' long man the past two seasons, will be making his first Major League start since June 24, 2012, when he faced the Phillies in the nightcap of a doubleheader in Philadelphia.

Matt Moore's elbow problem made necessary Ramos' move to the starting rotation.

During Spring Training, Ramos competed for, but did not win, the fifth-starter spot. Having done so, he remains "stretched out" enough to be able to throw up to 75 pitches, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.

"Definitely excited [about the opportunity]," Ramos said. "Hopefully I can fill [Moore's] shoes. They're big shoes to fill, but I'll do my best and hopefully it all works out."

When Ramos was told that Maddon said he was good for at least 75 pitches, Ramos smiled.

"Seventy, a hundred, whatever I can do to help out and save some of the bullets for the guys down there and try to go as deep as I can," Ramos said.

If Ramos gets lifted early, the Rays will likely go to veteran lefty Erik Bedard, who will be activated Sunday to fill the vacated long-reliever role.

Ramos will be opposed by Tony Cingrani, who pitched four innings and racked up 88 pitches quickly in his last outing. Cingrani gave up three earned runs and three hits -- all in the first inning -- while he walked four and struck out five. He remains the only pitcher in Major League history to begin his career with 20 starts without allowing more than five hits in a game.

"I didn't throw strikes," Cingrani said. "I had no fastball. I was trying to throw other things in there. I walked a few guys. I just tried to battle."

Rays: About those signals
Protecting a 2-0 lead with one out in the ninth of Friday night's game, David Price surrendered an 0-1 fastball to Joey Votto that the Reds slugger deposited into the left-field stands to chase Price.

Afterward, Price said that catcher Jose Molina had called a curveball, but he was having a hard time reading signals all night and thought he called for the fastball.

"From a catcher's perspective, it's really uncomfortable if a guy's not throwing what you're putting down," Maddon said. "If you're calling something soft and he's throwing something hard, that's a really bad moment for a catcher."

Maddon noted that there were different things they could do to combat having trouble seeing the catcher's signal, such as painting the catcher's fingernails with whiteout or fingernail polish.

Reds: Price backs Cozart
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is off to a rough start at the plate this season, including a career-worst 0-for-22 start. Manager Bryan Price maintained that there is no added pressure being placed on Cozart and he has no need to look over his shoulder.

"He's our shortstop. That's one thing he needs to know, and we've had that discussion," Price said on Friday. "Albeit not a long history in the Major Leagues, he has a history here. He doesn't have to be a middle-of-the-lineup run producer. He just needs to do his thing. He had a nice at-bat, a hard line-out to second [base on Friday].

"He can't get better if he's not in the lineup. He's working diligently with Don [Long, the hitting coach, and] he's doing everything he needs to do to have more consistent at-bats. He's not going to get out of it by sitting on the bench. Everyone here's behind him; we know he can play."

Worth noting
• Evan Longoria's RBI single in the first inning of Friday night's game gave the Rays their first hit with a runner in scoring position since James Loney's eighth-inning, two-run double against the Rangers on April 5. It ended an 0-for-25 streak by the team with RISP in inings one through eight.

• Price made his 150th career start Friday night and earned the win, giving him the best winning percentage of any active pitcher with at least 150 starts.

• Votto batted second for the Reds on Saturday for the first time since Aug. 8, 2008, his rookie season. Comments