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For starters, Rays vs White Sox



The Rays open a four-game series with the White Sox today at the Trop in a rematch of last year's playoffs.

With Evan Longoria missing his second straight game due to a death in the family, the infield will have an interesting look.

Willy Aybar will start at third, and Ben Zobrist will start at second - -manager Joe Maddon said it was to give Akinori Iwamura a day off. With Zobrist a switch-hitter, it also gave another right-handed bat against left-hander John Danks.

One thing to watch today will be RHP Jeff Niemann, who hopes to start his second outing better than his first (five-run first inning against Orioles).

Maddon said he expects Longoria will be back Friday, and he could be back in the lineup. Zobrist could get a start at shortstop sometime this weekend as Maddon wants to give Jason Bartlett a day off too.

Maddon said RHP Jason Isringhausen has been progressing well in his extended spring outings, getting a chance to throw from a longer distance for long toss as he continues to build up arm strength and velocity in his fastball. Isringhausen will have another two-inning stint in extended before going to Double-A Montgomery Monday. Maddon said Isringhausen will have a couple outings there before moving onto Durham, and they just want to see a few more miles per hour on his fastball.

"Just good stuff," Maddon said. "The body is in good order. He's feeling good. The velocity is not quite where we want it to be yet. But there's still a couple inches or feet to be had there in regard to his fastball."


Upton, cf

Crawford, lf

Burrell, dh

Pena, 1b

Aybar, 3b

Navarro, c

Zobrist, 2b

Bartlett, ss

Kapler, rf

Niemann, p


Getz, 2b

Fields, 3b

Quentin, lf

Thome, dh

Dye, rf

Konerko, 1b

Pierzynski, c

Ramirez, ss

Anderson, cf

Danks, lhp


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


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