Gameday report: Rays at Phillies
UPDATE, 12:51: Late lineup change for the Rays - Sean Rodriguez isn't feeling well, so JJ Furmaniak will start at short.
UPDATE, 11:58: A decision on the fifth starter is likely to be announced on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon said, after he has time to to talk to the pitchers. RHP Wade Davis, despite a poor spring, seems more likely to get the spot with RHP Andy Sonnanstine heading to the bullpen. ... Maddon also talked up the chances of non-roster DH/1B Hank Blalock making the team, saying how he has been impressed with the veteran's work and work ethic. "I think Blalock coming in and doing as well as he has has probably raised questions I did not anticipate in the beginning,'' Maddon said. ... Not much new on the medical reports, with Maddon saying Navarro and Joyce continue to progress with no specifics. ... One pitcher to watch today in RHP Joaquin Benoit - after Dale Thayer and Carlos Hernandez looked bad last two days, Benoit has a chance to gain some ground in race for open bullpen spot.
UPDATE, 10:04: C Dioner Navarro, down to one crutch but still moving gingerly due to the bruised nerve in his left shin, said in Port Charlotte this morning he is planning to start throwing on Wednesday but won't resume hitting until next week. He told our man Joe Smith he is still confident of being ready for opening day, which is two weeks from today. "It's feeling better and better every day,'' he said. "I'm just praying this thing comes back to life.''
UPDATE, 10:01: Here is the Phillies lineup:
UPDATE, 8:01: Matt Joyce will DH today, a day after acknowledging his recovery from a right elbow strain isn't going as quickly as he or the team hoped. It's still unclear when Joyce will return to the outfield, which he last played March 10. "The plan is to keep treating it to see how it feels each day and go from there,'' he said this morning. "Hopefully in a couple days I'll be able to throw to the bases.'' Joyce can throw but doesn't have much "zip" on the ball. He said he "doesn't really know" how this will impact his chances to be ready for opening day, which is two weeks from today. He did note how much he has improved in the last week or so.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are leaving early this morning for Clearwater, with an interesting look to their lineup.
3B Evan Longoria and 1B Carlos Pena will be at their usual spots, and the Rays will take another look at the middle infield duo of Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac in their "reverse" positions, with Rodriguez at short and Brignac at second. Former Phillie Pat Burrell will be back on his old turf in leftfield. And they're filling in at a few other spots, with Elliot Johnson in center and minor-leaguer Nevin Ashley behind the plate.
Here is the lineup posted this morning:
E. Johnson cf