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For starters, Rays-Indians, with Longoria at DH

UPDATE, 1:25: Manager Joe Maddon planned to meet with DH Pat Burrell just prior to gametime, so there may not be an update until post-game on his condition, following Friday's cortisone shot to relieve stiffness in his neck. Maddon didn't rule out the possibility of a DL stint, saying he didn't know what the report would be.

Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey met for more than a half hour with the starters, giving them what Maddon described as "a pep talk" and also "a nice give-and-take.'' Basically, he said, "I just wanted them to feel comfortable with everything and let them know that I have all the confidence in the world in all of them.”

Also, he said the decision to DH Longoria was simply to get him off his feet for a day. Longoria said he would spend most of his time between at-bats in the batting cage and riding an exercise bike to stay loose.

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The Rays are looking to make it three wins in a row today, and will try to do so with a slightly different lineup. Evan Longoria will be the DH today - essentially a partial day off - with Ben Zobrist playing third and hitting fifth. Also, Gabe Kapler is in rightfield against Indians rookie lefty David Huff. And Michel Hernandez is behind the plate.

The Indians, meanwhile, are resting Grady Sizemore.

The Rays lineup:
Upton, cf
Crawford, lf
Longoria, dh
Pena, 1b
Zobrist, 3b
Bartlett, ss
Kapler, rf
Iwamura, 2b
Hernandez, c
Sonnanstine, p

The Indians lineup:
Cabrera, ss
Carroll, 2b
Martinez, c
Choo, rf
Peralta, 3b
Garko, lf
Dellucci, dh
DeRosa, 1b
Francisco, cf
Huff, p


[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:46am]


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