06/24/10 12:25 AM ET
Reunions on tap as Rays host D-backs
By Didier Morais / MLB.com
"I have good memories everywhere I played, but they're memories," Jackson said. "I'm with a new team -- it's a new start. Sometimes the past is the past, and you have to keep moving with the present."
And Jackson has certainly moved on, showing no mercy in starts against his former ballclubs. In his outing against the Tigers, Jackson fended off his former teammates, limiting them to three runs and nine hits to notch his fourth victory of the season.
A year ago, the Rays learned exactly how ferocious Jackson pitched against his former teams. Making his first appearance at Tropicana Field as an opposing pitcher in September, he gave up three runs on six hits through eight frames en route to capturing his 12th victory of the season.
In three years with the Rays, Jackson went 19-26 with a 5.08 ERA, then he had a career season with the Tigers in 2009, going 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. This year, the 26-year-old is a subpar 4-6 with a 5.05 mark, but he sports a 2.97 ERA in his last five starts.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Jackson is "a lot more confident and growing up as a big league pitcher" and, of course, "his stuff is really, really good."
But the reunion storylines don't end there. Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton and Arizona's Justin Upton will square off in a family reunion. And D-backs manager A.J. Hinch knows the matchup between the two budding stars will cause a dilemma for the Upton family.
"[Justin's] mom will probably have the split jersey on that she's worn before," Hinch said. "It will be a treat for him. J.D. and Stephen [Drew] went through this in Boston with their family there, and the LaRoches did when they were together in Pittsburgh, so we've had a lot of family reunions this year."
D-backs: Benson on mend
After receiving cortisone shots last week, right-hander Kris Benson is aiming to resume his rehabilitation process this weekend. Benson was placed on the 15-day disabled list after straining his shoulder in a start against the Rockies in late April.
Benson started four games for Triple-A Reno before suffering a setback in his recovery from capsulitis -- inflammation in the capsule of his shoulder. After a few bullpen sessions, the right-hander may return to Reno next week to test his injured shoulder once again.
"It turns out it was a little more serious than I thought when it first happened," Benson said.
Rays: Sonnanstine embraces role
Andy Sonnanstine is slowly getting used to his new responsibilities. Formerly a starter, the Rays right-hander has thrived in his role as a converted reliever, having tossed eight scoreless innings over his past three appearances.
"There definitely was a learning curve involved," Sonnanstine said. "I'm feeling much more comfortable, as far as when they call and who is going in, situation-wise, so I feel like I'm much more experienced than I was starting the year."
The D-backs announced Wednesday that they will retire Luis Gonzalez's No. 20 on Aug. 7 prior to a game against the Padres.
"We have had a change of heart regarding our policy for retiring uniform numbers, and no longer require the players to be members of the Hall of Fame first," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. "Paying tribute to our franchise's most popular player is fitting indeed."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.