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For starters, Rays vs. Royals

20

August

Update 5:39 p.m. Evan Longoria said today was a planned day off, and he expects to be in the lineup again Tuesday for another long stretch. He had played in 12 of 13 games since coming off the disabled list.

Longoria also said he'll likely play third base at some point this week, with manager Joe Maddon saying he's "close" to getting a start there.

*That proves big considering DH Luke Scott is expected to get activated off the disabled list Tuesday. Maddon said Scott will get some time at DH, can play first base as well. Having Longoria able to play third - though not on an everyday basis - gives them more flexibility.

Maddon said they'll have to make a decision tonight on who gets sent down to make room for Scott. Though INF Sean Rodriguez, who has options left, is a likely possibility, he's not the only option being considered.

*Maddon liked getting Ben Zobrist two straight days off his feet, putting him at DH today. Maddon did say that Zobrist will likely start at shortstop the remaining five games of the homestand. Having Zobrist able to play short - and play it well - has opened up a lot of possibilities for the Rays offensively (keeping Keppinger and Roberts in the lineup). And Maddon indicated it's not a reach to think that Zobrist, if he holds up well and plays well the rest of the season at short, could play there next season, too.

Update 4:35 pm. The Rays lineup doesn't include Evan Longoria, who is getting the day off. Rays lineup Jennings lf Upton cf Zobrist dh Keppinger 1b Roberts 2b Rodriguez 3b Fuld rf Lobaton c Johnson ss Hellickson rhp

Developing: The Rays have returned home after a remarkable road trip - winning eight of 10 against the Twins, Mariners and Angels - and will face the Royals to open a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

It's possible that Evan Longoria may get tonight off, considering how much he played on the trip. But the Rays could get back DH Luke Scott, who wrapped up a rehab stint with Class-A Charlotte, and is expected to get activated today or tommorrow. INF Sean Rodriguez is a possibility to get sent down to Triple-A Durham to make room.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson, a hard-luck loser in RHP Felix Hernandez's perfect game last week, will start on the mound for the Rays.

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@tampabay.com

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:40am]

    

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