For starters: Rays at Tigers
UPDATE, 12:39 p.m. Will be posting in-game updates on Twitter @TBTimesRays2.
UPDATE, 12:34 p.m. Hellickson will face a tough Tigers lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson, so it should be a good test for him.
*Maddon said he hadn't heard about RHP Fernando Rodney using a magic plantain during the World Baseball Classic semifinal, having it shipped in from the Dominican Republic. Maddon laughed, "It's pretty cool."
*Maddon said OF Sam Fuld (hamstring) should return to game action by Friday or Saturday, and is still on track for opening day.
*Ben Zobrist is appearing in his first game since returning Sunday from the WBC, playing short. Maddon said Zobrist will likely be the backup shortstop to SS Yunel Escobar, believing playing there helps the rest of Zobrist's game.
*OF Matt Joyce said it was a "thrill" to return to Lakeland, where it all kind of started for him, having played at nearby Florida Southern and starting his pro career with the Tigers.
UPDATE, 8:12: Rays lineup, with Zobrist at SS and Luke Scott in RF:
Also scheduled to pitch today: Farnsworth, De La Rosa.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are on the road today at Lakeland to play the Tigers with RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the mound.
Ben Zobrist is slated for his first action since coming back from the WBC, and likely to start at shortstop. OFs Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and Luke Scott are scheduled to make the trip.
Among the Tigers scheduled pitchers is LHP Kyle Lobstein, a Rays 2008 draft pick who was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Mets and then moved to Detroit.
Lobstein told our buddy John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press he was looking forward to it:
"This will be the first time I pitch against the organization I used to be with, so I'll have to see how it goes,'' he said. "I hope I get to face a couple of the guys I know.''
- Marc Topkin