ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -B.J. Upton returned to Tampa Bay's lineup Friday night after being sidelined for more than a month with a left quad strain.
Upton, out since June 8, was activated from the 15-day disabled list and started in center field against the New York Yankees. He was batting a team-leading .320 with nine homers and 30 RBI's as the club's primary second baseman when he was injured.
With Rocco Baldelli on the 60-day DL with a left hamstring strain and Elijah Dukes on the minor league inactive list because of off-the-field issues, Upton becomes the team's regular center fielder.
To make room on the roster, left-hander J.P. Howell was optioned to Triple-A Durham last Sunday. The Devil Rays won't need a fifth starter until a July 21 doubleheader at New York, when Howell is expected to be recalled.
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