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For starters, Rays at Reds



UPDATE, 3:42: Rays win 3-1, SS Tim Beckham makes a running, diving catch in shallow leftfield for the final out.

UPDATE, 2:53: Kazmir said everything felt good, and he was happy with his slider, which he threw about 10 times. He also experimented some with the slide step delivery out of the stretch and said he liked how it felt. Rays lead 3-1 after six innings, with Willy Aybar going deep in the fourth.

UPDATE, 2:16: Kazmir is done, having worked four innings, allowing five hits and one run, and striking out three.

UPDATE, 1:44: LHP Scott Kazmir has looked pretty sharp in his first two innings on the mound (as opposed to his unimpressive strikeout at the plate), and the Rays lead 2-1 going to the bottom of the third.

UPDATE, 1:16: Good start for the Rays, with two runs in the first on hits by Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell.

UPDATE, 12:05: Manager Joe Maddon said that by the middle of next week (ie, after Tuesday's off-day) the Rays may start winnowing the field for the No. 5 starter's job. One reason is that have to start making decisions, the other is that the top four starters need to start pitching deeper into games so there are less innings available. The Rays are also considering having some of those guys pitch in minor-league games so they can get a longer look at the finalists for the fifth spot against big-league hitters.

Maddon also confirmed his plans to have Matt Joyce make his spring debut as the DH on Thursday.

Here is the Reds lineup, which doesn't include Jonny Gomes, who is having a strong spring for the Reds with a .364 average, 3 homers and 10 RBIs:

Taveras, cf
Keppinger, ss
Nix, rf
Ward, 1b
Francisco, 3b
Tatum, c
Hopper, lf
Janish, 2b
Arroyo, p

- - -

The Rays are bringing the big boys on the (relatively) short trip up to Sarasota for this afternoon's exhibition and reunion with former teammate Jonny Gomes. Also of note, Willy Aybar makes his first appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic, Pat Burrell starts in rightfield since there is no DH today, and Ben Zobrist gets some work in centerfield. And Scott Kazmir will be on the mound.

The lineup posted in the clubhouse this morning looks like this:

Bartlett, ss
Crawford, lf
Longoria, 3b
Pena, 1b
Burrell, rf
Aybar, 2b
Navarro, c
Zobrist, cf
Kazmir, p

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


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