NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay right fielder Sam Fuld came out of Sunday's game against the Yankees after aggravating his nagging right hamstring while running to first base in the fifth inning.
It was announced as a mild strain, and manager Joe Maddon said a conservative estimation was that Fuld would miss at least a couple days' action.
Fuld said after the game that he had tweaked the hamstring on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, and that he had been playing through it for most of the weekend. He hit a grounder to second base on Sunday that New York's Robinson Cano misplayed initially before throwing him out, and Fuld grabbed his right leg as he neared the bag.
"Just kinda tweaked it a little bit a couple nights ago," Fuld said. "First night here. Just kind of thought I could play through it. I kind of felt it throughout the day, at different points of the game. But definitely, when I saw Cano bobble it, I tried to turn it up a notch, and that's when I grabbed it."
Fuld was 0-for-2 on the day and left with the Rays behind by a score of 6-1. Tampa Bay eventually lost, 6-4.
"It feels all right," Fuld said. "It's not too bad, I don't think. I don't have any history with hamstrings, so it's hard to know anything, but I've been walking on it pretty well at this point. It's hard to know how severe it is at this point."
Ben Francisco replaced Fuld in right field and in the No. 8 spot in the lineup. Francisco doubled in the eighth inning.
Maddon tossed for disputing umpire's warning
NEW YORK -- Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Paul Emmel in the third inning of Sunday's game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Maddon was tossed after exchanging words with Emmel following a warning that was issued to both benches when Rays starter Matt Moore threw a 95-mph fastball near Curtis Granderson's head in the third.
The Yankees had just taken a 5-0 lead on Moore and the Rays. Granderson's at-bat, which ended with a walk, immediately followed Russell Martin's three-run homer.
"I'm just telling [Emmel], 'That's not necessary. You don't have to set any warnings,'" Maddon said. "[Moore's] not throwing at anybody right there. All I kept saying was, 'That's not necessary,' and then I said, 'You're wrong,' and then he threw me out. So at that point, I had to make a few other points once I got out there."
It was Maddon's fourth ejection of the season and his 27th in seven years as the Rays' manager.
Designated hitter Matt Joyce was also ejected in the top of the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes with Emmel after Joyce struck out looking to end the inning.
Rays want lightning of 2011 to strike twice
NEW YORK -- Things are different, but they're also very much the same, as the 2012 Rays try to replicate what last year's club were able to pull off.
Trailing the Orioles and Yankees in the American League East and for a Wild Card spot, the Rays are again trying to stage a late-season comeback after climbing back against remarkable odds last year.
If one thing is different, it's that there are now three playoff spots up for grabs, with the second Wild Card added.
"The other part is the offensive side of this thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "We haven't had that offensive magic going on, and we need that because we've been pitching well and been doing pretty good on defense. We've got to somehow conjure up that offensive magic for this run."
Last year, the Rays trailed the Red Sox by nine games as late as Sept. 1, but they managed to storm back and claim the AL Wild Card. This season, Tampa Bay was a season-high 10 1/2 games behind New York in the AL East at the end of play on July 18, but it has gained 7 1/2 games in that span.
"It's definitely similar," Matt Joyce said. "Everybody knows anything can happen in the last couple weeks. Our mindset is the same. Just continue to try to play good baseball. We understand anything is possible, anything can happen. We still have a chance."
Expanded rosters a boon to creative Maddon
NEW YORK -- Few managers in baseball enjoy the chess match of the game more than Rays manager Joe Maddon, and the expanded bench he has to work with thanks to September callups allows him that much more of an arsenal.
Tampa Bay's bench has been vital this weekend in New York, with Luke Scott delivering a two-run pinch-hit on Saturday, plus other role players like Sean Rodriguez (pinch-runner, late defensive replacement Saturday), Chris Gimenez (two doubles Friday) and Elliot Johnson (two runs scored Friday) playing an important role.
Maddon likes to utilize his bench to secure a lead in the middle to late stages of the game, particularly against a team that has a strong bullpen, like the Yankees.
That was the case Saturday.
"We were trying to get on top early," Maddon said of Saturday's game. "We were trying to get on top there and avoid their better pitchers at the end. ... We tried to win it in the seventh and avoid their better back end of the bullpen."
There's a rare Tampa Bay-New York series going on all over the area this weekend, with the Rays and Yankees meeting up at Yankee Stadium, while the Buccaneers and Giants play at nearby MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
"Right across the river. Interesting," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "[The Buccaneers] played so well last week [at home], [now] being on the road, [but Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano] being close to home. I'm sure Rutgers played there -- maybe at the Meadowlands."
Schiano coached Rutgers to a 23-20 victory in the first college football game between Football Bowl Subdivision members at the New Meadowlands Stadium back in 2010. The Scarlet Knights beat South Florida, 23-13, on Saturday afternoon in Tampa. The Rays have a handful of players who provide Maddon with defensive versatility -- Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez among them -- and Jeff Keppinger has become a valuable piece down the stretch, playing third, second and first base.
"He's done a nice job defensively," Maddon said of Keppinger. "With him, he's got great hands; he's got an accurate, strong arm. With him, it's about range a little bit. If he gets to the ball, you're out. And I feel comfortable with him out there."