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For starters, Rays at Yankees



Update 2:33 p.m. Shields felt really good in his first spring start, throwing a perfect two innings with two strikeouts against some of the Yankees regulars.

"I was commanding my pitches today, trying not to overthrow," Shields said. "Defintely get a little geeked for the first outing, but for the most part, I felt really good out there."

Update 12:36 p.m. Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria (hand) is progressing well, that they're just being cautious with him and he should be "back to normal" in the next couple days.

*Maddon is really "eager" to see Jeff Keppinger at first base today. Keppinger, in competition for a utility role, has experience at first, second short and third - though last played first in 2008. Maddon pointed out that while Carlos Pena is everyday first baseman, when they choose to rest him, why not use a guy like Keppinger, who "historically hammers on lefties."

*RHP James Shields will start against many Yankees regulars - and is also likely to see them on Opening Day at the Trop. He will be followed by RH Burke Badenhop, Dane De La Rosa, Alex Colome and Josh Lueke.

Developing: The Rays are sending a fair amount of front-line players to Tampa for today's game against the Yankees, with likely Opening Day starter James Shields on the mound for his first appearance of the spring.

3B Evan  Longoria will stay back in Port Charlotte to continue working on his right hand, which was bruised in the March 1 intrasquad game. 1B Carlos Pena, who made his exhibition debut on Tuesday, is also back here, as the Rays will take another look at Jeff Keppinger at first base, a position they want him to get comfortable playing.

The lineup:
Brignac ss
Upton cf
Zobrist 2b
Joyce rf
Keppinger 1b
Vogt dh
Molina c
Feliciano lf
Johnson 3b
Shields p



[Last modified: Friday, April 6, 2012 12:40am]


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