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For starters, Rays vs Orioles

28

September

Update 5:04 p.m. Zobrist said he hasn't played first base since spring training (other than an inning Sunday), but said he expects to be comfortable in that spot.

Manager Joe Maddon said the move was mostly so he could get Iwamura and Kapler in the lineup the same day, and give Carl Crawford a day off, and plus the fact Zobrist is versatile enough to do it. It is not, however, a test to see if Zobrist could play more extensively at first base; he's got plenty other positions he can tackle.

Maddon said he plans to get a few guys a breather later in the week, possibly Upton and Bartlett, and maybe Longoria, as the season winds down, making sure they finish the year strong (and healthy). 

***

The Rays begin their final homestand of the season with a four-game set with the struggling Orioles, who have lost 10 straight.

Manager Joe Maddon said that after the series with Texas - which was still in contention for a playoff spot - he'd use this week to get some other guys in the lineup. And he did just that today, with Fernando Perez getting a start in leftfield and Shawn Riggans getting a start behind the plate.

Right-hander Jeff Niemann will pitch tonight in a battle of the big men, as ex- Rays (and fellow lefty Mark Hendrickson will be his counterpart tonight.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Bartlett ss
Kapler, rf
Longoria, 3b
Zobrist 1b
Upton, cf
Burrell dh
Iwamura, 2b
Riggans, c
Perez, lf
Niemann, p

- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:51am]

    

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