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Shields, Molina, Rodney have options picked up

ST. PETERSBURG— James Shields, Jose Molina and Fernando Rodney are in and Luke Scott is out — at least for the time being.

The Rays announced Wednesday afternoon they had exercised 2013 options for Shields, Molina and Rodney, while they opted to decline Scott’s $6 million option and instead will pay him a $1 million buyout.

Shields will make $10.25 million, Molina will earn $1.8 million and Rodney will be paid $2.5 million next season.

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Scott, Niemann close to returning

SEATTLE— Luke Scott (mild strain, right external oblique) and Jeff Niemann (right fibula fracture) are both close to returning to the team. Both played for Class A Charlotte of the Florida State League on Tuesday in a game at Bradenton, Fla.

Scott hit an opposite-field home run while going 2-for-4 as the Stone Crabs’ DH. Niemann pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said the news on both players’ progress was good.

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Scott, Hellickson, Peralta & Farnsworth set to return

The Rays have sustained more than their fair share of injuries this year, but a squad of reinforcements appears to be on the way back.

Luke Scott headlines the list of those close to returning, as the injured designated hitter wrapped up a two-game rehab assignment Tuesday night with Triple-A Durham before returning to work out in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

Manager Joe Maddon said Scott would likely be back with the team for Thursday’s series opener against Detroit at Tropicana Field.

"He’s doing well," Maddon said. "There’s a pretty good chance you’ll get to see him [Thursday]."

In two games with Durham, Scott went 3-for-8 with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Injured reliever Kyle Farnsworth also appeared in Durham’s game on Tuesday, tossing one scoreless inning and striking out two as part of his rehab assignment. He’s scheduled to pitch again on Wednesday.

"I haven’t heard anything negative," Maddon said of Farnsworth. "I heard everything was good last night. [His] fastball was up to 96 and hard, good sliders. From his own mouth, Kyle felt very good about the slider and cutter. No issues at all, arm felt great. He spoke well of himself."

In addition, Jeremy Hellickson said on Monday that he’ll likely pitch Saturday against the Tigers, while reliever Joel Peralta is slated to return from his eight-game suspension on Saturday.

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