Only the Braves could understand the Rays' injury woes right now. Tampa Bay has been forced to rely on a host of replacement starters for the ailing Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson.
"I don't want anybody to step up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I want everybody just to go out and be themselves. I think if we do that, we'll be able to play at a much higher level."
One of those replacement starters, left-hander Cesar Ramos, will go for the Rays on Saturday night against the White Sox. He pitched well in his last start, limiting the Yankees to one run over five innings. It was just his second start of the season, after his previous four innings pitched came out of the bullpen. He's only made four other starts at the Major League level in his career, three coming in 2009 as a member of the Padres.
"You plan for these different things, and you know it's going to happen," Maddon said. "You don't like when it happens all at one time, but everybody [goes through this]. [The White Sox are] missing [Chris] Sale right now. I mean, there's a lot of teams that are missing some players."
Ramos will oppose John Danks, who has pitched well despite generally getting off to rough starts that feature lots of baserunners and a high pitch-count in the first few innings. Danks has a 6.75 ERA in the first inning and has allowed five of his eight earned runs in innings 1-thru-3.
Backup catcher Adrian Nieto has been behind the plate for all four of Danks' starts and figures to catch the lefty again Saturday. The two developed a chemistry in Spring Training that has stuck, and Nieto has become Danks' personal catcher.
"I think he's just one of those guys that as the game goes on, the stronger he gets," Nieto said, when asked why he thinks Danks has started games slowly. "At the same time, we are playing in pretty cold weather, so that could be a reason. We'll see here now when it starts to warm up, but I think he's throwing the ball well, man. And like I said, it's fun catching him."
Rays: Stolen bases at a premium
The Rays have attempted just 11 stolen bases entering Saturday's game, which ranks near the bottom in the majors.
"It's the evolution of the Rays," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just a different team. I mean, you have one legitimate base-stealing threat on the team, where in the past we might have had four or five. You don't try to put the square peg in the round hole. You don't want to run yourself into outs just because you want to steal more bases."
Desmond Jennings leads Tampa Bay with three steals while Ben Zobrist has two. Matt Joyce was caught stealing in Friday's loss to the White Sox.
"If we're in the top five as a baserunning team, I'll take that over the fact that I don't care where we are regarding stolen bases," Maddon said. "But if our decision-making -- taking the extra base, going first to third -- if those things are in order and we're not making stupid outs on the bases, then that's a positive."
White Sox: Beckham feeling good
Gordon Beckham's welcome back to the White Sox wasn't exactly pleasant. The second baseman was activated from the disabled list on Thursday and met the team about two hours before first pitch against Detroit.
Not expecting to play, Beckham was thrust into the starting lineup because Conor Gillaspie was a late scratch with a sore left hand. The first Major League pitcher he'd have to face in 2014? Max Scherzer. Beckham went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
"I was exhausted," Beckham said. "I don't normally sleep after games, but I was asleep on the bus and on the plane. And I got back home and I went straight to sleep. It was just a long day."
Otherwise, Beckham said he feels good. He went 0-for-3 in Friday's game, but showed no issues with his oblique, even leaping to take away a hit on a David DeJesus liner.
"My side feels very solid," Beckham said before Friday's game. "I had a lot of games [on my rehab assignment]. I would say about half of them were getting a lot of soreness out. I would wake up and really not know how it was going to go. Then it would end up going OK.
"The last four or five, I felt like was pretty close to as 100 percent as I am going to get. I feel good now."
• With a grand slam and solo home run in Friday's game, Jose Abreu set the record for homers by a rookie in the month of April (9) and is tied for the most RBIs in the month by a rookie (27).
• Dayan Viciedo extended his hitting streak to seven games and Alexei Ramirez extended his to six games.
• The Rays are the only team in the MLB to hit a double in all their games this season.
• With 11 walks on Friday, Tampa Bay tied a team record for walks in a nine inning game.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.