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For starters, Rays vs. Orioles on decision day



Update 10:07 a.m. Rays manager Joe Maddon isn't ready to announce the fifth starter decision, but hopes to sometime today.


Maddon said he has to talk to executive VP Andrew Friedman first, then get with the three candidates before making it official. "It's down to the cardinal from Argentina and the cardinal from Bologna," Maddon quipped. "There's no white smoke yet."

Maddon said he wants to announce it today so the candidates aren't "hanging in the wind."

*Maddon said if LHP Cesar Ramos is selected the fifth starter, RHP Mark Lowe and RHP Brandon Gomes are options as long relievers.

*Though RHP Juan Carlos-Oviedo's spot in the bullpen is open, the Rays consider it just a temporary opening, as he's not expected to be out long. Oviedo may stick to pitching in minor league games this spring so his DL-stint can be backdated.

*When it comes to the batting order, Maddon said one thing he has to figure out is where Evan Longoria hits, whether that's in the third or fourth spot. David DeJesus and Desmond Jennings will split the leadoff spot, and Maddon is leaning towards keeping SS Yunel Escobar in the nine hole.

*OF Matt Joyce, sidelined since Wednesday with a stiff neck, is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday in Fort Myers.


Developing: With the Rays planning to announce the decision on their fifth starter today, candidate LHP Erik Bedard jokingly asked the media when they walked in the clubhouse today, "You hear anything?"

Neither Bedard, nor LHP Cesar Ramos or RHP Jake Odorizzi, have been told Tampa Bay's plans. Manager Joe Maddon said it was a tough decision, and that team officials would discuss it further this morning before announcing.

In today's game, RHP Alex Cobb will start on the mound against and Orioles lineup that includes ex-Ray Delmon Young.

C Jose Molina will play in his first game since Tuesday, saying the team just gave him a few days off as they got late into camp.

OF Matt Joyce, sidelined since Wednesday with a stiff neck, is not in the lineup, but said he plans to take batting practice today with hopes of playing Sunday in Fort Myers. "It's getting there," he said.

The Orioles will start recently-acquired RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, part of their rebuilt rotation.

Will be posting live updates on Twitter from today's game @TBTimes_JSmith.

Rays lineup
DeJesus cf
Zobrist dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers rf
Escobar ss
Molina c
Nix 2b
Guyer lf
Cobb rhp

Orioles lineup
Weeks 2b
Reimold dh
Urrutia rf
Young lf
Clevenger c
Pearce 1b
Casilla ss
Berry cf
Almanzar 3b
Jimenez rhp

[Last modified: Saturday, March 22, 2014 10:12am]


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