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Pena returns to lineup as DH

Pena returns to lineup as DH

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carlos Pena was in the starting lineup as the Rays' designated hitter on Saturday night after missing Friday night's game with a sore right hamstring.

That was good news considering the Rays have had 10 different players on the disabled list this season.

"I don't see anything standing in my way of coming back and playing like I always do," Pena said. "I feel pretty good. So I'm kind of excited that I feel this good."

On Friday night, Pena thought he might play first base on Sunday, but now the Rays are likely to be cautious about putting him back in the field too soon. Pena credited Tampa Bay athletic trainer Ron Porterfield for using prudence with his approach.

"Ron asked me, 'You want to play today?'" Pena said. "And I'm like, 'Let's do it.'"

"And I know what he's trying to do," said Pena. "We tend to go out there and not think about things too much. But there's a process to it. He's an expert at it."

Pena "got a lot of hitting in [Friday] during the game in the cage," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He would have been able to pinch-hit last night, but it didn't occur. We'll just see how it plays out as the DH [Saturday night], probably the DH [Sunday]."

Pena, who is hitting .179 with six home runs and 13 RBIs, was removed from Thursday's game at Minnesota in the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring.

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

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