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For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Johnson in LF



UPDATE 11:55: In-game updates will be posted on Twitter @TBTimesRays2, so check it out.

UPDATE 11:48: Kelly Johnson said he's looking forward to starting in leftfield, his first action there since 2005, but predicts it should be an interesting - and challenging - day. He's been getting a lot of work there in recent days, mostly during BP. Manager Joe Maddon said he's eager to see it, with Johnson increasing his versatility likely working out for both him and the team. 

*Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria will play Thursday against the Tigers, and is on an every-other day program.

*Maddon said Ben Zobrist wants to play more "extensively" before he leaves Sunday for the WBC, so expect to see a lot of him in the coming days. Maddon said C Jose Molina also wants to catch in back to back games before going to WBC.

*Maddon said first cuts should be coming relatively soon.

*When it comes to the fifth spot in the rotation, whether it's Jeff Niemann or Roberto Hernandez, Maddon said health will play a factor in how it plays out.

UPDATE, 9:24: Top prospect OF Wil Myers was originally on the travel schedule, but the Rays decided to keep him back in Port Charlotte today for additional work, specifically in leftfield. He has spent most of his time in right and center.

The tentative starting pitchers for the next few days look like this:

Thursday: Roberto Hernandez (with Matt Moore in relief)

Friday: Jake Odorizzi (with Chris Archer in relief)

Saturday: Alex Cobb

Sunday David Price

DEVELOPING: The Rays head north to Bradenton today with Jeff Niemann getting his first start of the spring after pitching in relief on Saturday.

The most interesting part of the lineup is that Kelly Johnson gets his first action in leftfield. Though a starting second baseman the last 6 years the Rays signed him with the idea that he could also play outfield and first base.

The lineup:

Zobrist 2b
Jennings cf
Joyce rf
Escobar ss
Scott dh
Johnson lf
Molina c
Loney 1b
S-Rod 3b
Niemann p

Jeremy Hellickson is among those scheduled to work in relief.

On Thursday, the Rays are home against the Tigers, then are in Dunedin on Friday.


[Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 11:54am]


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