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For starters, Rays-White Sox, with Aybar at second, Kaz a question



UPDATE, 6:54: LHP Scott Kazmir said he felt some tightness during his bullpen session but otherwise felt good and expects to make his start on Thursday. But manager Joe Maddon was not quite as committed and said a final decision won't be made until Tuesday.

"He was fine, not 100 percent like he can, not 100 percent ready yet, but he feels like he will be, but he did throw a complete pen and he came through it fine,'' Maddon said.

There is no contingency plan yet, Maddon said, as both Kazmir and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield think he'll be ready. "As of right now, we're letting it roll,'' he said. "Throwing today, how he feels tomorrow will let us know what we have to do.''

Maddon also said Aybar is again playing partly because of research and data by the front office showing he is a better matchup against Sox starter Gavin Floyd than Gross, and partly because he needs to play more to stay sharp. "Tonight's my best guess with Willy,'' Maddon said, adding that he talked to Gross about it. 

With lefties starting the next three nights, Maddon said they will "shake things up" with the lineup over the rest of the series.

By the way, it is a bit cool tonight, with little humidity, and Maddon said the weather "give you almost that kind of playoff kind of a feel to it.''

UPDATE, 5:09: There is a surprise in the Rays lineup - Willy Aybar gets another start at second, with Ben Zobrist in right and Gabe Gross on the bench.

 The lineup:
Upton cf,
Crawford lf,
Longoria 3b,
Pena 1b,
Zobrist rf,
Burrell dh,
Aybar 2b,
Hernandez c,
Bartlett ss
Price, p

NEWS: Haven't seen the Rays lineup yet, though it is expected to include Michel Hernandez behind the plate. But here is what the White Sox have planned:

Podsednik cf
Ramirez ss
Dye rf
Konerko 1b
Pierzynski c
Quentin lf
Beckham 3b
Nix 2b
Fields dh
Floyd p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:49am]


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