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For openers, Rays vs. Yankees



Update 1:50 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon said the reason he put DH Jeff Keppinger in the cleanup spot is not due to his numbers against LHP CC Sabathia (6-for-14), rather he wanted a good contact hitter behind Evan Longoria, and predicted Keppinger would have a nice day at the plate.

Keppinger, who had never hit fourth at any level, was a bit surprised to see him there, and at DH.

"I'd say that's probably two things I never envisioned I'd do," Keppinger said, smiling.

Maddon said he moved 1B Carlos Pena back up from seventh to sixth in the lineup to make it more difficult for the Yankees to manipulate their bullpen later in the game.

*Maddon said RHP Kyle Farnsworth (elbow soreness) will likely need 4-6 weeks of rest, with the team going by a closer-by-committee approach until he returns. Maddon said several guys are capable of getting the last out, including LHP Jake McGee and, eventually, RHP Wade Davis. 

*Maddon said CF B.J. Upton is getting close to heading out on a rehab assignment.

*Maddon said DH Luke Scott will play in Saturday and Sunday's game. With LHP CC Sabathia starting today, it made more sense for Scott to start those two games, and then have the off day Monday, as he's still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Scott is available to pinch-hit today.

*Maddon said RHP Josh Lueke was picked over LHP Cesar Ramos and RHP Brandon Gomes, who still needs to build up his velocity following offseason back surgery. Maddon said they hadn't seen the best of Lueke so far, and would like to see him use his changeup more.

Lueke, acquired from the Mariners in the offseason, admittedly had a rough camp, but said he was able to make the necessary adjustments in his final two outings. He was pleasantly surprised to get the call Thursday afternoon he'd be going to the big leagues, just before he was scheduled to sign his lease in Durham. Lueke said he drove 10 hours, through some heavy rain, and arrived in St. Petersburg around 1 a.m.

Developing: The Rays and Yankees are getting set for all the pomp and circumstance of today's season opener, with first pitch by James Shields at 3:10.

Manager Joe Maddon made one change to his previously announced lineup, moving Carlos Pena up to sixth and Elliot Johnson down to seventh.

Here are the lineups:

Jennings cf
Zobrist rf
Longoria 3b
Keppinger DH
Rodriguez ss
Pena 1b
Johnson 2b
Molina c
Joyce lf
Shields p

Jeter ss
Granderson cf
Cano 2b
Rodriguez 3b
Teixeira 1b
Swisher rf
Ibanez dh
Martin c
Gardner cf
Sabathia p


[Last modified: Sunday, May 6, 2012 12:40am]


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