Notes: Upton could face surgery

Notes: Upton could face surgery

ST. PETERSBURG -- B.J. Upton could be facing offseason surgery on his left shoulder as a preventative measure.

The Rays third baseman missed three games after swinging at a pitch and missing on Aug. 17, but the problem quickly went away. At that time, Upton said the pain he experienced was similar to another such episode he went through with his shoulder. Surgery would be performed to prevent further occurrences with his shoulder.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said the decision whether to proceed will be made once the season concludes. Upton said his shoulder does not bother him.

"I don't ever think about it, not at all," Upton said. "I've been swinging the bat a lot better, so it hasn't been bothering me. It gets sore every once in a while is all."

Asked if he had a preference in regard to having or not having surgery, Upton replied: "Whatever's best for me."

Upton smiled when asked if surgery would interfere with his offseason plans.

"My offseason's already set," said Upton, noting that among other things he planned to travel to his friend Michael Cuddyer's wedding. Cuddyer, who plays for the Twins, will be getting married in Jamaica.

Shutting them down: James Shields, Chad Orvella and Travis Harper have all thrown their last pitch for the season according to Maddon.

"Shields based on number of innings pitched to this point," Maddon said. "Harper [right shoulder impingement] is feeling much better, just isn't enough time to get him into the swing of things. So we thought it would be better just to stop that, too. So neither one will pitch. Orvella [sore left side], neither."

Shields, who made his Major League debut on May 31 in Baltimore, finished at 6-8 with a 4.84 ERA in 21 starts.

"I think [Shields has] indicated that he can be a Major League starter," Maddon said.

Orvella, who split time between Triple-A Durham and Tampa Bay, finished at 1-5 with a 7.40 ERA in 22 appearances. Harper went 2-0 with a 4.93 ERA in 30 appearances.

Learning from the leaders: In the aftermath of Friday night's 4-1 loss to the Yankees, Maddon said there are a lot of things the last-place Rays could learn by watching the first-place Yankees.

For starters, watching how Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter goes about his business.

"I liked Derek Jeter running hard to first base on a ground ball to Tomas Perez, put a lot of pressure on that," Maddon said. "I liked Derek Jeter bunting for a hit. I liked Derek Jeter not vacating his spot at shortstop on a run and hit, whereas if he'd left too soon, that ball [Navarro] hit would have been up the gap.

"The running hard to first base, we preach it all the time, I just love that he did it. And the bunt for a hit, why not? To lead off an inning? If it's there, take it. So you saw all that stuff. And Jorge Posada gets hit on the side of the head with a baseball bat and comes right back out. ... There's a lot to draw from them as a young group. I think we are watching, but we do point different things out at different times."

This and that: Since Aug. 18, Rocco Baldelli is batting .356 (42-for-118) over 26 games with 14 multi-hit games. That's tops in the American League and fifth in the Major Leagues. He also has eight home runs in his last 18 games since Aug. 30, which is the fifth most in the Major Leagues over that stretch. ... Crawford needs one more triple to become the first player in 76 years to rack up 15 or more triples in three consecutive seasons. Hall of Famers Earle Combs, Paul Waner, and Charlie Gehringer were the last to turn the trick. ... Twenty of the Rays' last 24 games have been decided by three runs or fewer; the Rays are 6-14 in those contests. ... Friday night's loss marked the 57th game in which the Rays lost after owning the lead.

Coming up: The Rays will play the third game of a four-game series against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon in a 1:15 contest at Tropicana Field. Right-hander Brian Stokes will start for the Rays and will be opposed by right-hander Mike Mussina.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.