Notes: Baldelli out with tight hamstring

Notes: Baldelli out with tight hamstring

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rocco Baldelli has a tight right hamstring, and the Devil Rays are proceeding cautiously with their center fielder.

Baldelli, who missed the first half of the 2006 season with a left hamstring problem, experienced tightness in Tuesday afternoon's game against the Indians. The 25-year-old did not make the trip to Kissimmee, Fla., where the Rays are playing the Astros on Wednesday night.

"It's still tight," Baldelli said. "I'm going to take it day by day. That's how we're going to attack this thing."

On Tuesday afternoon, Baldelli received treatment by Rays trainers, then warmed up on an elliptical exercise machine, played catch with head trainer Ron Porterfield and did some light jogging along the warning track at Progress Energy Park.

Baldelli said the tightness didn't get any worse overnight, but it did not significantly improve either.

"I don't think I'll be playing for at least a couple of days," he said.

Since Baldelli's had so many different issues with his legs over the last couple of years, he has a hard time analyzing the extent of his leg problems. So when Baldelli was asked whether he feared missing a significant amount of time time, he shrugged his shoulders.

"I can't tell anymore," Baldelli said. "I don't know. I've strained it and it felt better in a day or two. Then other times, like last year in Spring Training, I thought it was going to be fine and it wasn't. I wish I knew ahead of what I tell you guys. I wish I knew for myself."

When a reporter asked Baldelli if he thought he'd be out for three days or three months, he said: "I would hope that it's not the latter. But I can't say, honestly. If I told you guys, I'd be lying."

Baldelli, who was hitting .275 in 40 at-bats this spring, hasn't had any problems with his legs this spring.

"I've been doing a lot of maintenance to make sure they stay loose," Baldelli said. "I don't think it's old age, but my legs do feel tighter the older that I do get. That's pretty much all I've felt. I think aches and pains, things like that, but not like this."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said that he wants to be sure Baldelli is fine before he puts him back into the lineup.

"I don't think it's anything serious with him at all," Maddon said. "But with him, we're going to err on the side of caution. You can see what the lineup looks like with him in it. And I want him in the lineup. So we'll back off a little bit."

While Maddon is hopeful that Baldelli's hamstring problem is not as severe as last season, he said the team prefers to address the problem now.

"I want him to be ready for the season," Maddon said.

Ridgway optioned to Durham: Jeff Ridgway was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. The left-hander, who came to camp as a candidate to win a spot in the bullpen, has struggled this spring, with an 11.12 ERA in six appearances. The move left the Rays with exactly 40 players in camp.

Up next: The Rays will host the Twins on Thursday night in a 7:05 ET contest at Progress Energy Park. Casey Fossum, who will start for the Rays, hopes to continue to make headway from offseason shoulder surgery.

Fossum will be followed by right-handers Tim Corcoran, Chad Orvella, Jae Kuk Ryu and Al Reyes. Right-hander Boof Bonser will start for the Twins.

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