ST. PETERSBURG -- After Sunday's game, the Rays will embark on an eight-game road trip against American League East Division foes, including three contests against the Yankees, three against the Orioles and two against the Blue Jays.
The Rays are looking forward to getting some action against division rivals after playing a majority of their games against the Central and West divisions.
"It will be nice to get back into some familiar territory, but it doesn't really matter who we face," said James Shields, who will start Tuesday's contest in New York. "Our main goal is to win each series, no matter who we're playing."
Shields is mindful of the new Yankee Stadium, which has ranked in the top five for the amount of home runs hit since its opening in 2009.
"You definitely have to be careful of the right-field wall, but for the most part, you have to concentrate on their hitters, who are dangerous no matter where you're playing them," said Shields, who has allowed five home runs in 34 innings at the new ballpark.
Jennings leaves game with knee soreness
ST. PETERSBURG -- Desmond Jennings left Sunday's game against the A's in the third inning with left knee soreness.
The Rays didn't say when the injury occurred, but it may have happened in the first inning, when Jennings slid headfirst into home to score on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Keppinger.
Jennings made the second out of the second inning when he was thrown out at first on a grounder to short. On the play, Jennings hustled down the line and almost beat the throw.
Elliot Johnson moved to left field to replace Jennings at the beginning of the third inning and Will Rhymes entered the game to play second for Johnson.
Rays send Gomes down to add fresh arm
ST. PETERSBURG -- After the bullpen worked a season-high 8 1/3 innings in Saturday night's 12-inning, 4-3 loss to the A's, the Rays needed a reliever to make room for a fresh arm.
Brandon Gomes was the unfortunate victim, after tossing two innings, his longest outing since doing the same last season on July 29 against the Mariners. After tossing 24 pitches on Friday, the right-hander threw 42 pitches on Saturday.
The Rays optioned Gomes to Triple-A Durham and recalled left-hander Cesar Ramos from the Bulls.
Rays manager Joe Maddon stuck with Gomes for such an extended period because he wanted to avoid using Joel Peralta and Wade Davis. The Rays eventually needed Peralta, who has appeared in four of the last five Tampa Bay contests and leads the Majors with 16 appearances.
Ramos arrived after compiling a 2-1 record and a 1.69 ERA in 12 relief appearances with Durham.
The Los Angeles native anticipates improving on his 2011 campaign, in which he led Rays left-handers with 59 appearances over two stints with the team.
"I am a lot more comfortable with my delivery and I am going to do everything I can to help the team and stay here the rest of the season," said Ramos, who allowed 22 runs, 19 earned, in 43 2/3 innings (3.92 ERA) last season. "The key here is to stay aggressive. I learned [in Durham] how to fix certain things with my delivery where I'm able to repeat it."
Ramos held left-handed batters to a .221 batting average last season, his best career totals, but he knows he must improve on getting ahead in the count to lefties or righties. Over his three-year career, opposing batters have hit .400 against him when they had a 1-0 count, .583 with a 2-0 count and .500 with a 2-1 count.
"I feel like I'm in a better groove now and have a better idea how to approach batters," Ramos said.
Maddon manages his 1,000th game
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Joe Maddon joined an elite crowd by managing his 1,000th game for the Rays on Saturday night.
Along with Maddon, the Angels' Mike Scioscia (1,971 games), the Twins' Ron Gardenhire (1,646) and the Phillies' Charlie Manuel (1,161) are the only other active skippers who have completed the feat with their respective teams. Tigers manager Jim Leyland joined the group on Sunday.
Maddon has compiled a 514-486 record over the course of seven seasons with the Rays, who were 518-775 before his arrival.
Maddon also became the fifth manager in the modern era to have managed at least 1,000 games for one team without ever playing in the Major Leagues.
The others were Earl Weaver (Orioles, 2,541 games), Joe McCarthy (Yankees, 2,348), Jim Leyland (Pirates, 1,716), Danny Ozark (Phillies, 1,105), and Leyland (Tigers, 1,000).
Bullpen catcher thankful for save
ST> PETERSBURG -- Rays bullpen catcher Scott Cursi was grateful Sunday morning, a day after R.J. Boggs, the Rays ballboy in the bullpen, snagged a line drive headed in his direction.
"Yeah, that was a close one," said Cursi, who is in his 14th season as the Rays bullpen catcher. "I kind of sensed it coming towards me, but [Boggs] was there to save me."
In the fourth inning, Cliff Pennington rifled a line drive into foul territory. Cursi was catching for J.P. Howell in the bullpen and the left-handed Boggs, who stands near Cursi as protection for such occurrences, dove to his left to backhand the ball with his glove.
"It was all reaction," said Boggs, 19, who actually has more experience playing hockey than baseball. "I'm used to that type of play in hockey, so it just happened."
Boggs, who is in his first year with the Rays as ballboy, played Little League baseball as a pitcher for seven years, but his main focus has been as a hockey goalie.
After finishing a high school career with the hockey team comprised of players from Sickles and Gaither High School, Boggs has continued working on his craft in camps, most recently in Maine with the Portland Junior Pirates club team.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.