- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (AP) - Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell is set to rejoin the team on Friday after missing 29 games with a neck strain.

Burrell was scheduled to be the designated hitter in a rehab game Thursday night with Single-A Charlotte.

“We talked and he said, ‘I’m ready,’” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said before Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. “For me, getting him back is important.”

Maddon said Burrell will be a pinch-hitter and won’t play in the outfield during a stretch of six interleague road games next week at Colorado and the New York Mets.

Shortstop Jason Bartlett, out since May 25 with a sprained left ankle, ran the bases and is scheduled to play the first of three games with Charlotte on Friday. He is expected to return for the first game of the series with the Rockies on Tuesday.

“He looked very good,” Maddon said. “He felt pretty good. He’s very confident going into this weekend.”

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