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Gameday report: Rays vs. Twins

17

March

UPDATE, 11:02: Lineup change that may be related to scheduling, but Evan Longoria is now in the lineup today and Willy Aybar is out. 

UPDATE, 10:31 Manager Joe Maddon said the competition for the fifth starter spot is very close between RHP Wade Davis and Andy Sonnanstine, with a decision likely not coming until around the end of camp.

Maddon has been impressed with Sonnanstine, whom he said is looking like he did in 2008, when he won 13 games.

*In other news, Maddon said RF Matt Joyce will play in a minor league game today at DH to get some at-bats, as he rehabs his right elbow strain. Joyce will do some throwing drills inside, before progressing to play catch. With Joyce hitting well before he got sidelined, Maddon wants to keep him in that same groove, even if he won't be playing outfield in a big league game until next week.

*One thing to watch today is that C Kelly Shoppach will be catching RHP James Shields for the first time, and Maddon said Shoppach will catch later into the game with some of the regular relievers scheduled to pitch.

UPDATE, 10:25: A bit of surprising news from Nationals camp - controversial former Rays outfielder Elijah Dukes unexpectedly released by Washington Nats.

UPDATE, 8:52:
Burrell wasn't playing today anyway so he came in early and was excused from the rest of the workout so he could head up to the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook to caddy for one of his buddies, Pat Perez, who tees off today at 1 p.m.

DEVELOPING: The Rays will wear green hats for today's St. Patrick's Day matinee against the Twins, with a lineup missing most of the big-name players save for opening day starter James Shields and catcher Kelly Shoppach.
 
One early morning impression - at 7:45 a.m. Pat Burrell was already in the batting cage working with hitting coach Derek Shelton.

Here is the Rays lineup:

S. Rodriguez cf
Kapler rf
Aybar 3b
Blalock dh
Shoppach c
Ruggiano lf
Brignac 2b
Shealy 1b
E. Johnson ss
Shields p

(Pictured: PGA Tour players Pat Perez, Mark Gensler,  John Thorp and Ray Pat Burrell visit on the 10th tee of Innisbrook's Copperhead Course during Wednesday's Pro-Am round at the Transitions Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)

[Last modified: Friday, April 16, 2010 12:15am]

    

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