Notes: Kazmir headed to DL

Notes: Kazmir headed to DL

NEW YORK -- The Devil Rays announced left-hander Scott Kazmir was put on the disabled list retroactive to July 24 due to inflammation in his left rotator cuff.

Left-hander J.P. Howell will be brought up from Triple-A Durham to take his place in the rotation for two starts.

According to Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon, the Rays do not want to take any chances with Kazmir's health.

"I don't want him to miss another start this season," Maddon said.

In other words, once Kazmir is healthy, he would come back and, in theory, pitch without incident for the remainder of the season.

"Yeah, we're protecting him," Maddon said. "We need to err on the prevention side."

Kazmir, who is 10-7 with a 3.36 ERA, is tentatively scheduled to pitch Aug. 9.

Howell "is pitching really well," Maddon said. "He hasn't given up more than three earned runs [in any outing] all year."

Howell came to the Devil Rays in a trade that sent Joey Gathright to the Royals. At Durham, Howell has a record of 3-2 with a 2.11 ERA in seven starts.

Maddon said Howell could remain with the Rays longer depending on his performance.

Wigginton's replacement unannounced: The Rays have not yet announced a replacement for Ty Wigginton on the Rays roster. Wigginton broke his hand in Saturday's win over the Yankees.

Andrew Friedman, the Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, said it was not a foregone conclusion that highly-touted shortstop-turned-third baseman B.J. Upton would be Wigginton's replacement.

He said he planned to talk to others about the move and think about it himself while flying on the team charter back to Tampa.

"By the time we land, we should have a better sense to make an announcement tomorrow," Friedman said.

Maddon spoke about Wigginton's mindset prior to Sunday's game.

"He's upset, despondent," Maddon said. "He's off to his best year ever as a Major League baseball player. Actually, the way he's been playing lately, there's no telling what he'd end up doing by the end of the season. He was getting kind of crispy again. I thought he was playing at a very high level. I just thought the quality of the at-bat was better. I thought the quality of his defense has been there all year, his baserunning skills. He's done everything right. And then I think he was beginning to take on a leadership role with the troops. He's the kind of guy who can because he backs it up with his example."

Wigginton is expected to be on the disabled list anywhere from four to six weeks. He is hitting .267 with a career-high 18 home runs and 57 RBIs.

Lugo update: Negotiations between the Rays and Julio Lugo are ongoing to sign the shortstop to a long-term deal prior to Monday's trade deadline.

"There should be some [resolution] by Monday," Lugo said.

Lugo said he spoke to Danny Lozano, his Beverly Hills-based agent.

"I know what's going on," Lugo said. "Nothing's happened yet."

Gomes gets his 20th: Jonny Gomes belted his team-leading 20th home run Saturday, which is one shy of his rookie total of 21, while moving his RBI total to 54 to match his total from 2005.

"When I came back to the dugout, everybody gave me congratulations," Gomes said. "I didn't really think about it. I remember last year I was kind of pushing a little bit. Eighteen, 19, I wanted to get 20. This year, I knew I had time. I wasn't really pressing. It was really good to get that out of the way. And hopefully some more will come."

The home run came at a good time for Gomes, who is mired in a 3-for-53 slump that has seen his average drop from .255 to .221. But he has been having some better at-bats of late, walking more and not expanding the strike zone as much.

"When you're walking, you know you're going to hit," Gomes said. "That's the thing. I had some good walks [Saturday] and a pretty good swing on a fastball."

Owner in the house: Stuart Sternberg has been in attendance during the weekend series in New York, where he resides. The Rays principal owner said he is pleased with the way the Tampa Bay area has responded to the team's marketing efforts.

"People will always look at attendance," Sternberg said. "And I look at other factors as well, all the lead factors, sort of the dog that wags the tail. Attendance is kind of the tail on the whole thing. I understand that's sort of the last thing that comes. But between our ratings, Internet hits, the surveys we've done and the positive response we've been seeing, we are up, in my mind, 30 to 40 percent."

Sternberg said the organization can't be much more aggressive in its marketing efforts in 2007 than it has been in 2006.

"It's going to be more of the same and we're going to be able to focus on some other things," Sternberg said. "The important thing is we on had to put an organization together. And now they're together and working together."

At Oliver Park: Rays players Damon Hollins and Edwin Jackson, along with the Rays Baseball Camp staff, will be holding a Youth Baseball Clinic at Oliver Field at Campbell Park Monday from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET for 60 children from the Campbell Park area. Campbell Park has been renovated by the Rays.

Coming up: The Rays begin a four-game series with the Tigers on Monday night in a 7:15 ET contest at Tropicana Field. Left-hander Casey Fossum will start for the Rays and will be opposed by left-hander Kenny Rogers.

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