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08/08/07 1:04 AM ET
Notes: Upton learns ropes in center
Converted infielder making the transition to Rays' outfield
By Tim Kirby / MLB.com
DETROIT-- Ah, the intricacies of center field. No one is debating that B.J. Upton has the physical tools to play the position. Now he just needs to master the nuances of roaming center field. So consider Monday night a learning lesson. Upton and left fielder Carl Crawford converged on a high fly ball with the bases loaded and one out. Upton yelled at Crawford to throw the ball to second base, as the runner on third likely would have scored. Instead, Crawford thought Upton was yelling for the ball and the two players simply watched as it fell directly in front of their feet. Crawford did have the wherewithal to pick up the ball and throw out Omar Infante at second base for a fielder's choice, but it was another maddening fielding mishap for the Devil Rays. Manager Joe Maddon said it was probably Upton's ball to have -- given he had the better angle on the play since his momentum was going towards the plate. But, reverse the situation to right field, and Maddon said it would have been better for Delmon Young to field the ball. Mastering plays such as those will come with time as 20-somethings Crawford, Upton and Young continue to play together. "We've got a very young group of outfielders that, as they play together, could become spectacular," Maddon said. "The important thing is, as we run into our problems now, is to really address them quickly, rectify them, and move on." After all, it's tough for Maddon to get overly upset with Upton, an outfielder who has started a grand total of 28 games in center field throughout his five combined seasons with the Rays and in the Minors. "We've spent plenty of time [practicing] on that, it's just an experience thing," Maddon said. "When these guys get a chance to play together more -- given that B.J. is new in the middle -- the communication with the corner guys is vital and he's not used to that yet, either. It takes more than a month to get that solid." Stint is over: Tim Corcoran's stint on the 60-day disabled list is over. He threw two scoreless innings with Double-A Montgomery on Monday. An official decision regarding his status will be made by the team tomorrow. Corcoran hasn't pitched for the Rays since June 8 and has been on the DL ever since with a strained right elbow. More on Jackson: Maddon continued to praise Edwin Jackson, who allowed two runs over six innings on Monday and was in line for the win when he left with a 4-2 lead. "He pitched his best game," Maddon said, with an emphasis on the word pitched. Jackson was smarter with his stuff, Maddon said, and didn't rely just on his fastball. The best example? A three-pitch strikeout of Brandon Inge on three straight sliders. On this date: Wade Boggs delivered his 3,000th hit in 1999 with a home run off Cleveland's Chris Haney at Tropicana Field. Boggs was the 23rd player to join the 3,000 hit club and was the first to do so with a homer. The Devil Rays went on to lose to the Indians, 15-10, in a game with 33 hits, 11 walks and 39,512 fans in attendance. Boggs went on to collect just 10 more hits after the milestone and is now 25th on the all-time list as he was recently passed by Craig Biggio. Roster move:The Devil Rays outrighted left-hander Casey Fossum to Triple-A Durham following Tuesday's game. Fossum has 72 hours to accept the assignment or become a free agent. Fossum was 5-8 with a 7.70 ERA in 40 games for the Rays this season. To take Fossum's spot, the Rays recalled left-hander Jon Switzer. Switzer has a 0.82 ERA in 33 innings with Durham this season. Switzer gave up five runs in three appearances with the Rays earlier this season. Up next: James Shields (8-7, 4.45) will again face the Tigers on Wednesday, the team he collected his first big league complete game against a little over two months ago. Shields gave up three runs in the first inning to the Tigers on May 30, but didn't allow a run after that in a 5-3 Devil Rays win. Chad Durbin (7-3, 4.36) will start for Detroit. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at Comerica Park.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.