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Rays at Royals, eyeing a title



UPDATE, 7:38: Rays just announced a change in rotation, pushing Wade Davis back to Sunday, which makes Saturday TBA. James Shields still starts Friday. Won't be an explanation from Maddon until after the game. With Davis starting Sunday, he would seem unlikely to be consideration to pitch Game 2 of the playoffs on Thursday, though he would be on six days' rest for Game 3 on Saturday. Matt Garza, who starts tonight, would be on six days rest for Game 2. David Price is unofficially set for Game 1. 

UPDATE, 7:10: Manager Joe Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria (strained left quad) continues to improve and there is a chance he could play on Friday, BUT Maddon also said that it wouldn't bother him if Longoria didn't play at all this weekend as long as he was good for Wednesday's playoff opener. ... Maddon said reliever Joaquin Benoit, who went home to the Dominican Republic for the birth of his child, is expected to make it to Kansas City by gametime tonight. .... Ben Zobrist is playing third tonight so the Rays can get a look at him there as they want to be prepared in case Longoria has a setback. Sean Rodriguez is considered the best defensive option, but it's also possible they could use Dan Johnson, then bring in Rodriguez for defense.

UPDATE, 4:59: Rays lineup, with Zobrist at third.
 The lineup:
Jaso c,
Zobrist 3b,
Crawford lf,
Johnson dh,
Pena 1b,
Joyce rf,
Upton cf,
Brignac 2b,
Bartlett ss,
Garza p


The Rays are preparing to face the Royals tonight in the opener of a four-game regular-season ending series, trying to inch closer to clinching the AL East title.

Their magic number is 3 going into tonight, and with the Yankees idle they at most can only reduce it to two, meaning they'd need to win and the Yankees lose on Friday for it to happen then.

Matt Garza will be on the mound for the Rays in something of an intriguing matchup with Royals ace Zack Greinke.

Evan Longoria is already out on the field doing drills, but is not expected to play until Friday or Saturday as he continues recovery from his strained left quad.


[Last modified: Saturday, October 30, 2010 12:15am]


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