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Hinske active, Floyd out, Zobrist starting



The Rays activated INF/OF Eric Hinske on Sunday to replace Cliff Floyd, who has an injured right shoulder.

"It's kind of bittersweet because you never want to see anybody get hurt,'' Hinske said. "But I'm excited to be active and have a chance to help anyway I can. ... Whatever I can do to help will be fun.''

Floyd was injured on the bases during Game 2, manager Joe Maddon said, and was uncomfortable enough that he had trouble sleeping. "We tried to get through last night with him and he was available, but he's not today so we've got the appropriate paperwork in order and Hinske's on, Cliff is off,'' manager Joe Maddon said.

Hinske, who hit 20 homers during the season, was left off the roster for the ALCS and the World Series. He will be available off the bench as a pinch-hitter or for a double switch since he can play first and third base and left and rightfield, though the opportunities will be limited. "It gives us more flexibility,'' Maddon said. "He's been working out consistently in BP and I just reiterated to him to make sure he takes his ground balls all over the place.''

If the Series returns to Tropicana Field for Games 6 and 7, Willy Aybar is likely to take Floyd's place as the DH against right-handers.

The other pre-game news was manager Joe Maddon's decision to start Ben Zobrist in rightfield against Phillies starter Joe Blanton ahead of Rocco Baldelli or Gabe Gross, a move that sounds rooted in an attempt to get more offense in the lineup,  a need exacerbated by the struggles of Evan Longoria (0-for-12 with six strikeouts) and Carlos Pena (0-for-10 in the Series, hitless in his last 18 at-bats, going back to Game 5 of the ALCS) .

The Rays lineup:
Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Crawford, lf
Navarro, c
Zobrist, rf
Bartlett, ss
Sonnanstine, p

The Phillies lineup:
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, rf
Ruiz, c
Blanton, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:43am]


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