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ZOBRIST PLAYS RIGHT

Ben Zobrist's last start in rightfield came in late May, so when he saw his name penciled in to play there for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, he just nodded and let it sink in.

"I just told myself, 'Okay, here we go,'" he said. "I was just elated. It was just incredible, beyond anything I thought I'd be doing this year."

He would experience it firsthand - a packed Tropicana Field, the spotlight of the world, and all the blinding camera flashes when Scott Kazmir threw the Series' first pitch.

But Zobrist, the Rays' shortstop turned superutility player, did well in right - he was tested early and late by a Phillies lineup dominated by left-handed hitters. If there was a reason the Rays dropped the series opener, Zobrist wasn't it.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Zobrist was a 25-year-old minor-league shortstop for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. But the Aubrey Huff trade that season that brought in Zobrist has paid dividends because of his flexibility in the field.

Zobrist, who opened the season on the DL and was shuttled between the majors and Triple-A Durham four times, made 12 outfield starts. The most - eight - came across the outfield in left.

And when manager Joe Maddon needed an option in rightfield for Game 1, knowing he wanted to play Rocco Baldelli in tonight's Game 2 and Baldelli hadn't played back-to-back games this season, Zobrist was there.

On the first batter of the game, Zobrist made a running catch down the rightfield line and a line drive by Jimmy Rollins.

"After the first one, I was great," he said. "I was able to touch the ball early and get involved. That takes a little bit of the nerves away."

Zobrist was also 1-for-3 at the plate, singling for one of just five hits the Rays managed off Phillies starter Cole Hamels.

He also made a running backhanded catch on a Carlos Ruiz liner to end the eighth.

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