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Morning update: Longoria, Fuld, Scott, Beckham, Opening Day starter



A couple of morning notes from Rays camp:

* 3B Evan Longoria's bruised right hand continues to improve, but the date of his exhibition debut keeps getting pushed back. Today manager Joe Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield wants Longoria to take batting practice for at least two days before playing in a game, and they haven't decided if he would start that today or try on Friday. Longoria, hit on the hand in the March 1 intrasquad game, took swings off a tee for the first time Wednesday.

* LF Sam Fuld (wrist) and DH Luke Scott (shoulder surgery) could both make their exhibition debuts on Friday if all goes well today in a live batting practice session, where they are expected to face Matt Moore, Brandon Gomes and Kyle Farnsworth.

* Even though Tim Beckham is getting some playing time at second base this spring, Maddon said the Rays have not at all wavered that his future is at shortstop: "He's a shortstop, that's not changed.'' He is getting time at second for two reasons - because they Rays want to see their other shortstops, and to increase his value in the future if he were to be needed elsewhere.

* Though there has been little doubt that James Shields will get the call, Maddon said they would make official the Opening Day starting assignment on Friday.

 * Maddon will get his prized new possession, his 1956 Chevy BelAir, back on Friday when he goes back to the bay area for the DeBartolo Foundation banquet.

[Last modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 12:40am]


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