MILWAUKEE -- Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey did not accompany the team to Milwaukee because he had to tend to a more serious matter.
Hickey's house in Kissimmee, Fla., incurred fire damage Sunday afternoon.
"Pretty much devastated his garage and the house is full of smoke and soot," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And with all that, he had to remain back."
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
Hickey received the bad news just prior to the team boarding its charter for Milwaukee on Sunday night.
"So I just said, 'Look, take care of it, man,'" Maddon said. "So Stan [Boroski, assistant to the pitching coach] will be the acting pitching coach."
Maddon did not know when Hickey will rejoin the team.
Damon gets start in left field vs. Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Despite playing in a National League ballpark where the designated hitter is not used, Johnny Damon still was in the Rays' leadoff spot Monday night and playing left field.
"Game-by-game situation," said manager Joe Maddon of his decision to use Damon in the field. "I talked to him the other day at home, told him what I was thinking about, and he said he was comfortable with it and actually liked the idea. We'll just run him out there tonight. After the game, check it out, see what it looks like going for tomorrow and so forth."
Maddon said Damon's defense will have to be up to par.
"Because we have to play our defense, that's a part of the equation, too," Maddon said. "On the other side, we have to score runs. That's been a part of our problem. So just look at it every day, see what we think, see how it's going, see how he feels. I honestly don't know which will weigh heavier for a decision tomorrow."
Maddon noted that should Damon not start, he would still be a weapon off the bench as a pinch-hitter, particularly since the Brewers do not have any left-handers in their bullpen.
Hellickson set to step to plate for first time
MILWAUKEE -- Jeremy Hellickson will start Tuesday night against the Brewers, thereby gaining the opportunity to hit in a game for the first time since he played at Herbert Hoover High School in Des Moines, Iowa.
Unfortunately for the Rays right-hander, his first at-bat since playing against Urbandale High School his senior year will be against former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.
"It's going to be tough, I'm not looking forward to it," Hellickson said. "But I have to take care of my business first, so that's not really keeping me up. I'll be happy to lay down a bunt. ... I've been looking forward to hitting -- just not against a Cy Young Award winner. I haven't hit in six years, so that will be fun."
When asked to put into perspective the sensation of hitting against Greinke after not hitting since high school, manager Joe Maddon called such a prospect "nightmarish."
"Culture shock, those kind of things, surprise, surprise," Maddon said. "Going against Greinke after all this time is going to be awkward, or strange, I'm sure."
Rays to miss playing against Pujols
MILWAUKEE -- Albert Pujols is on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture of his right forearm, which means he will not be available to the Cardinals when they visit Tropicana Field next week.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is disappointed that he will not be playing since he has always maintained that to be the best, a team has to beat the best. Earlier this season, the Rays missed facing Marlins ace Josh Johnson because he, too, was injured.
"We missed Johnson down with the Marlins, now Albert's going to be out," Maddon said. "I like playing teams at full strength. We just played the Red Sox at full strength, so that gives us a good idea where we're at. I think it's a great test to see where you are. You want to beat everybody with their best players. You do. Furthermore, from the fans' perspective, having a chance to see [Pujols] play [at Tropicana Field], a lot of different reasons. Of course I'd rather have him be in the lineup."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.