Vazquez back in action


SARASOTA — Ramon Vazquez took a round of batting practice in the cages about a half-hour ago and said he’s fit enough to play.

Vazquez was bopped on the shoulder two days ago by a bad-hop bouncer and has a bruise near his collarbone. When he got to the clubhouse yesterday, Vazquez wasn’t able to swing the bat without severe shoulder pain, so he was scratched from the lineup.

“Fielding was no problem, but I couldn’t hit,” he said.

Vazquez is not in the lineup today against the Rays, but he hopes to get into the game as a defensive replacement and test his shoulder. Vazquez is battling for a bench spot and, as things stand today, is not likely to make the team.

– It’s going to rain off and all for most of today, but the Pirates and Rays are expected to get in at least a few innings. Due to the weather, Zach Duke’s outing in a minor-league intrasquad game at Pirate City was moved up three hours to 10 a.m. Brendan Donnelly also will pitch in that game.

– Octavio Dotel is still scheduled to make his debut today against the Rays. Dotel also is slated to pitch an inning Tuesday.

– Monday is an off day for the Pirates, but not for Kevin Hart, Evan Meek, Charlie Morton and Chris Jakubauskas. Morton will toss a bullpen session and Hart and Jako will pitch in a minor league game.

– Ross Ohlendorf (5-6 innings/80 pitches) will start Tuesday against the Astros. D.J. Carrasco, Dotel, Brian Bass, Javier Lopez (If he’s returns from his “paternity leave”) and Jack Taschner also are in line to pitch. RHP Felipe Paulino will start for Houston.

Lineups for today’s game:

Rays – 1. Jason Bartlett ss, 2. Gabe Kapler rf, 3. Evan Longoria 3b, 4. Carlos Pena 1b, 5. Pat Burrell lf, 6. Sean Rodriguez 2b, 7. Kelly Shoppach c, 8. Justin Ruggiano cf, 9. Ryan Shealy dh. Andy Sonnanstine rhp

Pirates – 1. Aki Iwamura 2b, 2. Ronny Cedeno ss, 3. Jeff Clement 1b, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Ryan Doumit c, 6. Lastings Milledge lf, 7. Bobby Crosby dh, 8. Andy LaRoche 3b, John Raynor cf. Daniel McCutchen.