Rays vs. Red Sox, game two
UPDATE, 6:06: Manager Joe Maddon won't say how long he'll keep the lineup this way, but said for now he'll stick mostly with a plan of having John Jaso hit fifth against righthanders and DH Willy Aybar fifth against lefties. Carlos Pena will bounce between sixth and seventh until he gets his strike zone better organized and his swing in better form. ... Matt Joyce (right elbow sprain) got through his first game in the outfield (five innings) with Class A Charlotte with no problems Maddon said, and will progress to seven innings on Wednesday with the possibility he may soon be moved up to Double-A Montgomery. .... C Kelly Shoppach has gone through running, hitting and catching drills, but it will probably be Sunday at the earliest when he starts his rehab assignment.
DEVELOPING: The Rays and Red Sox are preparing for game two of their series, thankfully under the tilted roof of Tropicana Field given the vicious storms that rolled through St. Petersburg a short while ago.
As expected, Rays manager Joe Maddon has Willy Aybar hitting fifth tonight against Boston lefty Jon Lester, with Carlos Pena sixth and B.J. Upton seventh, and Dioner Navarro is behind in the plate instead of rookie sensation John Jaso. For the Red Sox, OF Mike Cameron is back off the DL and in the lineup in centerfield.
Among other things:
* If you happened to read this headline on a sportingnews.com story - Rays exec says Carl Crawford is staying through end of contract - don't read much into it. If actually read the comment that Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman reportedly made on ESPN's broadcast last night, all he really said was the obvious, that the Rays are "a much better team with" Crawford than without him. And while it seems highly unlikely the Rays would trade Crawford as long as they're in the race for a postseason spot, Rays officials aren't likely to make any kind of binding comment like that. It's not their style, and it wouldn't be smart business.
The quote: "I feel very strongly we're going to have a lot of staying power (this season), We have a lot of respect for how long the season is, but we feel like we have the depth and the talent on hand to compete throughout the year, and obviously we're a much better team with Carl than without him," Friedman said.
The Rays lineup:
And for the Red Sox: