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New look lineup ...



Manager Joe Maddon unveiled a dramatically different lineup today that he expects to carry into the regular season, with LF Carl Crawford going back to the leadoff spot, SS Ben Zobrist hitting second and CF Rocco Baldelli moving into the prized No. 3 spot. Maddon said he wanted to split up Baldelli, who had been hitting leadoff, and Crawford to spread the offense more throughout the lineup.

Zobrist will be more of an "old-school" type No. 2 hitter, taking pitches, bunting and advancing runners, giving the Rays more of a National League style offense.

Maddon expects Ty Wigginton to be the cleanup hitter and said he is still refining the rest of the order. On Tuesday, DH Greg Norton was hitting fifth, 2B Jorge Cantu sixth and RF Delmon Young seventh. 3B Akinori Iwamura was eighth and C Josh Paul ninth.

Earlier this spring, Maddon had moved Crawford from third to second and Young to third.

Also Tuesday, Maddon confirmed the obvious, that LHP Scott Kazmir will be the opening day starter on April 2 against the Yankees.

Also, C Dioner Navarro (strained left hamstring) likely won't return until the end of the week, but Maddon said he can still be ready for opening day.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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