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North of the border, the finale

Struggling 3B Evan Longoria is out of the Rays lineup tonight, though also-struggling 1B Carlos Pena is playing. LF Carl Crawford is getting a "mini-day off" by being the DH with Nathan Haynes in left.
Manager Joe Maddon said Longoria, 4-for-29 on the road trip and his average down to .221, looked like he needed a break. "I wanted to give him a day off,'' Maddon said. "He's pressing a bit and I wanted to back him off a little bit.''
Longoria will be available to pinch-hit and as a defensive replacement for Eric Hinske, who is starting at third. He said the day off probably was a good idea.
Pena, whose average is down to .200 after 10 strikeouts in his last 12 at-bats, will stay in the lineup after he and Maddon had a long talk following Wednesday's game. "We had a nice conversation yesterday and I'm looking forward to seeing him play today,'' Maddon said.
The rehab report is about the same, with DH Cliff Floyd (right knee surgery) having another good day in extended spring training and likely to take BP at the Trop on Friday. INF Ben Zobrist (fractured left thumb) is playing again tonight for Class A Vero in Lakeland.

The lineup:
Iwamura, 2b
Crawford. dh
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Hinske, 3b
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
Haynes, lf
Bartlett, ss
Jackson, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:35am]


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