TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton could return as soon as Saturday from a bruised left triceps.
Upton left Thursday's game after he was hit by a pitch from Cleveland right-hander Paul Byrd in the first inning.
``He could talk himself into it, if he's convincing,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said before Friday's night against the New York Yankees.
Upton, the second overall pick in the 2002 draft, hit .300 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs last year.
Tampa Bay second baseman Akinori Iwamura didn't play Friday due to back stiffness. He might be able to play Sunday.
``I just want it to calm down,'' Maddon said.
Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir, expected to start the season on the disabled list with a strained left elbow, made around 25 throws while playing catch.
James Shields, the Rays opening day starter, allowed one run and one hit over seven innings in a Triple-A game. He struck out seven and walked two.
``Shields pitched very well,'' Maddon said. ``He wanted to work on his curveball. Got that done.''
Cliff Floyd, who has battled various injuries during his career, will open the season strictly as a designated hitter. There was some thought when spring training started that he might get some playing time in right field.
``Right now, I'm just looking at him as a DH,'' Maddon said. ``We're trying to look at it as though he's not going to do it. As we get into the season, we'll see how he's feeling.''
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