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Four-man rotation an option with upcoming days off

Four-man rotation an option with upcoming days off


NEW YORK -- Even though Monday's scheduled off-day is now being used for a makeup game with the Red Sox, the Rays will have five off-days in the first four weeks of August, and that has brought up the possibility of going to a four-man rotation.

"We've discussed different things," Rays manager Joe Maddon. "We haven't put it all together. Of course we have our different thoughts and our different schedules. We'll announce that relatively soon. It's possible to do something like that, yes. But we're still trying to put it all together."

Before Matt Moore struggled (five runs over five innings) in Sunday's 6-5 loss, the Rays were 24-1 in the last 25 games started by David Price, Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Archer. The four had pitched six or more innings in all but two of those starts and were a combined 21-1 with a 1.65 ERA. Roberto Hernandez at 5-11 with a 4.92 ERA currently rounds out the rotation.

"They've been pretty good," Maddon said. "They've been pretty good. And again, Roberto, I know people have been pretty critical of him, but he's also pitched very well, too. The other guys, Archie, David, Matty and Helly, that's been over the top a little bit. The other part of it is [Alex Cobb] is getting well, which also bleeds into it and makes it more interesting. But it's something we're considering, but we haven't decided on that yet."

Cobb, who is 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA, is on the mend from a concussion. His rehab was recently slowed when he developed a blister on his right forefinger, which might turn out to be a good thing as far as keeping the state of the rotation less complicated.

"It definitely would have added a degree of difficulty for what we're trying to do," Maddon said. "But of course we want to get Cobber back. It's a nice problem, we want to keep that problem, always want to have that problem. So we still have a little more time to figure that out, and we're going to use that time."

As of right now, the only scheduled starts on the horizon are Price against the Red Sox on Monday followed by Hernandez and Hellickson against the D-backs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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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