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For starters, Rays vs. Jays, with Zobrist at short



Update 11:50 a.m. Ben Zobrist will make his first start at shortstop since 2009, though he came up as a shortstop and was the Rays Opening Day starter there in 2007.

Zobrist said the Rays asked him if he'd do it, and he said he would, though he doesn't know how often he'll play there. But Zobrist, who took ground balls at short before today's game, feels comfortable.

"It'll be like riding a bike," he said.

Part of the decision could be roster flexibility. With DH Luke Scott getting close to returning - he said he's going to likely start a rehab assignment Friday - someone will have to go down to Triple-A Durham to make room. Sean Rodriguez, who has options left, could be a candidate, and putting Zobrist there today could be testing to see if he could back up Elliot Johnson there (while also playing his regular second and rightfield positions).

*3B Evan Longoria is back in the lineup for the third straight day, partly because he didn't do much running on the bases yesterday (he struck out three times). He is also 4-for-7 with three homers against Jays starter Alvarez.

*RHP Jeff Niemann said he felt great in his first rehab start Wednesday in Port Charlotte, throwing 2 2/3 innings (41 pitches) and allowing one run and three hits. He admitted he was a bit nervous for his first game since breaking his right fibula in May, but said he was able to throw all his pitches, and not even think about his leg. Niemann will make his next start Monday or Tuesday, going up to 60 pitches, with a late August target return date.

*Scott went through another hitting session today, this time off a machine, and said he felt good, hoping he can start a short rehab assignment with Charlotte Friday.

*Just a reminder, today's game is not on TV (Sun Sports dropped it when they picked up an earlier game this year).

Here's the Jays lineup

Jays lineup
Davis lf
Rasmus cf
Encarnacion 1b
Escobar ss
Cooper dh
Sierra rf
Mathis c
Vizquel 2b
Hechavarria 3b


Developing: The Rays will try to go for a three-game sweep of the Jays today in a matinee at Tropicana Field. Evan Longoria is back in the lineup for a third straight day, at DH. Manager Joe Maddon had thought about giving Longoria a day off today, but Longoria is 4-6 with three homers against Jays starter Alvarez. It's another interesting lineup for Maddon, with Ben Zobrist making a rare start at short. Lineup: fuld lf, upton cf, joyce rf, zobrist ss, pena 1b, keppinger 3b, roberts 2b, lobaton c, moore lhp *

[Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 12:40am]


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