Gameday report: Rays at Astros
UPDATE, 12:30: The injury reports sounds a little more optimistic today, as manager Joe Maddon said INF Willy Aybar (left hamstring) has improved enough to play 1B in a minor-league game today, and if he doesn't have any issues the next few days should be ready to open the season. OF Matt Joyce (right elbow strain) remains status quo, able to throw but without zip at a distance, and remains "50-50" to be ready to open the season. ... Maddon said he hadn't made any decisions yet on the middle of the lineup, but it sure sounds like he favors the grouping he is presenting today, with Zobrist third, Longoria fourth and Pena fifth. ... Minor-league C Nevin Ashley gets another start today in place of recovering Dioner Navarro as he has impressed Maddon with his work behind the plate.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are headed to Kissimmee for their longest trip of the spring, a two-plus hour bus ride from Port Charlotte. The lineup has a fair amount of regulars, as manager Joe Maddon takes a look at his potential revamped middle of the order, with Ben Zobrist third, Evan Longoria fourth and Carlos Pena fifth.
Here is the Rays lineup:
And for the Astros: