Lots going on ...
Manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman both tried to downplay the impact on the team of making this many changes this early in the season, by saying it's just part of the game. But Friedman admitted, ""This is definitely not the way we drew it up.''
With Lugo out, Maddon apparently will stick with Carl Crawford in the leadoff slot. The rest of Thursday's lineup has Jorge Cantu at second, Aubrey Huff at third, Jonny Gomes at DH, Travis Lee at first, Russell Branyan in right, Josh Paul catching, Joey Gathright in center and Nick Green at short.
The Rays also made a small trade that could pay off big down the road, acquiring righthanded pitcher Marcos Carvajal from Seattle. Carvajal, 21, pitched last season with the Rockies as a Rule 5 draft pick, then was traded to Seattle. The Rays will send him to Double-A for now, but expect him to eventually pitch in the big leagues. They gave up minor-league pitcher Jose De La Cruz.
The post-game comments Wednesday were interesting in that several of the hitters, most visibly Jorge Cantu, made it clear that they too blame the pitching for the team's first two losses. Cantu said: ""We're trying everything we can offensively to get us going, but we didn't have that support so far in these two games from our pitching. It needs to get better.''' Starter Seth McClung, on the other hand, shrugged off his poor effort as a "bad day at work.''
The Rays were to fly to Toronto after Thursday's game, then open a weekend series against the Blue Jays on Friday. And though it will be cold in Toronto, at least the Rogers Centre roof can be kept closed.