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Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro left off Tampa Bay Rays' ALDS roster

Rocco Baldelli and Desmond Jennings were included on the Tampa Bay Rays' 25-man ALDS roster, while Willy Aybar and Dioner Navarro were left off.

The bullpen includes Jeff Niemann, Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls in addition to the main four of Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, and Grant Balfour.

Manager Joe Maddon said the final decision came down to Jennings as a pinch runner versus Aybar as a pinch-hitter.

They stuck with Randy Choate as the only lefty since Texas is primarily righthanded.

Maddon said the decision to exclude Aybar was difficult.

"We just tried to determine who we were going to utilize more often, and we chose those guys because of that,'' Maddon said. "We just determined the other guys we have chosen, we have a better chance of using them more often than him. No slight against Willy. We'd love to have a 26-man roster right now, that's just not the way it is.''

Aybar will continue to work out with the Rays, and could be added to the roster as an injury replacement or for the next round if the Rays advance.

Of the other players left off the roster, pitchers Jeremy Hellickson, Jake McGee and Andy Sonnanstine will also stay with the team and work out. Pitcher Lance Cormier's status was uncertain; outfielder Brad Hawpe and catcher Dioner Navarro were sent home.

It's not clear that Navarro could be added if there was an injury; Maddon said it was possible.

The bullpen mix was a result of the Rangers' heavily righthanded lineup; if they had faced the Twins, it's possible McGee, a rookie lefty, would have been included.

Niemann likely would be used as a long reliever (and probably held out today so he'd be available if James Shields has a bad start Thursday), but could also be used in a one-inning role.

Rays' ALDS roster

Starters (4)

David Price

James Shields

Matt Garza

Wade Davis

Relievers (7)

Grant Balfour

Joaquin Benoit

Randy Choate

Jeff Niemann

Chad Qualls

Rafael Soriano

Dan Wheeler

Catchers (2)

John Jaso

Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (6)

Jason Bartlett

Reid Brignac

Dan Johnson

Evan Longoria

Carlos Pena

Sean Rodriguez

Outfielders (6)

Rocco Baldelli

Carl Crawford

Desmond Jennings

Matt Joyce

B.J. Upton

Ben Zobrist

Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro left off Tampa Bay Rays' ALDS roster 10/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:26pm]

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