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Zobrist in, Gomes out, Crawford and Bartlett sitting, Baldelli waiting



The Rays are still without SS Jason Bartlett (right index finger) and LF Carl Crawford (left hamstring) for tonight's game with Cleveland, and manager Joe Maddon said there's a chance they won't be back until at least Thursday.

They got some help at short, however, bringing up Ben Zobrist from Triple-A and putting him in the lineup, a definite upgrade over Willy Aybar, who filled in on Monday. To make room for Zobrist, the Rays sent down OF Jonny Gomes, a move that seemed likely to happen when OF Rocco Baldelli was activated anyway so it gives the Rays a chance to field a better team, though Baldelli remains in limbo.

Maddon said the "imperfect storm" of injuries is playing a role on when Baldelli will be activated; he will accompany the team on their upcoming 10-game road trip, which starts Thursday in Seattle.

Crawford - who turned 27 today - is a key piece, and it's not clear yet when he will return to action. Eric Hinske will start in his place tonight, as the Rays are down to three healthy outfielders (though Zobrist could fill in out there too).

Bartlett said he feels a lot better, and actually took some batting practice pre-game today. He said the plan is for him to throw today and re-evaluate from there.

The lineup, as they try for the sixth time for their first win of the season against Cleveland:
Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Hinske, lf
Floyd, dh
Navarrro, c
Gross, rf
Zobrist, ss
Jackson, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:37am]


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