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Rays-Red Sox lined up, ready to open



UPDATE, 2:35: As you'd expect, the Rays are eager to get the season started, with manager Joe Maddon saying it feels like about three-four months (rather than the actual two) since they started spring training until today's opener.

Today will be especially exciting for the five Rays participating in their first major-league opening day: Grant Balfour, Matt Joyce, Evan Longoria, Joe Nelson Jeff Niemann,
A couple of interesting points form Maddon's pre-game media session:

* Most likely, he said he will use the returning middle- and late-inning relievers first, figuring he knows more about them in key situations, than Nelson and Brian Shouse.

* Pat Burrell said he wasn't sure if he would still go to Philadelphia for the Wednesday afternoon pre-game ring ceremony (since with the Rays playing Tuesday he's have to go down and back in one day), but Maddon said Burrell still has permission to go and just had to be back by gametime in Boston.

* Though Joyce doesn't have much experience in centerfield, he has had plenty of instruction and tutoring in the last couple weeks, and an extensive workout on Monday, and Maddon said they are comfortable enough that they have no plans to take him out for defensive purposes late in games.

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The Rays lineup for today's delayed opener is as expected: |
Iwamura, 2b
Crawford, lf
Longoria, 3b
Pena, 1b
Burrell, dh
Joyce, cf
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
Bartlett, ss
Shields, p


Ellsbury, cf
Pedroia, 2b
Ortiz, dh
Youkilis, 1b
Drew, rf
Bay, lf
Lowell, 3b
Lowrie, ss
Varitek, c
Beckett, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:45am]


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