UPDATE: 11:59 a.m.: Right-hander Charlie Morton will make hist first Grapefruit League start in Friday’s road game against the Orioles. There had been discussion about whether to let Morton begin to build his innings in a sim game instead of throwing him against a division opponent, but he will face one in at least his first spring game.
Also, infielder Matt Duffy could play in his first Grapefruit League game as soon as Thursday, Rays manager Kevin Cash said. Duffy said he was slated to test his hamstring by running the bases on Tuesday and Wednesday. If Duffy isn’t ready for Thursday, he’d likely return on Sunday. If it’s Thursday or Sunday it doesn’t bother me,” Cash said. “He said, 'Well I don’t want it to be Sunday. So he’s champing at the bit to play. So far everything’s been good.” Duffy went on the DL last April with a hamstring injury.
UPDATE, 8:23: One change, as Emilio Pagan will start for the Rays, which could be either to see him as a game opener or to beat the forecast rain, though Merritt also will still pitch.
DEVELOPING: The Rays make the first of two visits this week to Sarasota, taking on the Orioles at 1:05, weather permitting given a forecast for some rain.
Lefty Ryan Merritt, who took a star turn for the Indians in the 2016 AL Championship Series against Toronto, will get the start. He is competing for a job as a long reliever.
The Rays are slated to have both Brandon Lowe and Nate Lowe in the lineup, noteworthy because they are good young hitter and friends who tease each other about the pronunciation of their names. Brandon goes by Lowe as in wow, Nate the more common Lowe as in low.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is slated to return to action after missing two games due to a blister on his right heel.
Here is the Rays lineup that was posted Monday in the clubhouse:
B. Lowe 2b
N. Lowe dh
Rays spring info
1:05, Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St, Sarasota
Pitchers: Rays, Ryan Merritt, Emilio Pagan, Adam Kolarek, Austin Pruitt, Diego Castillo, Jalen Beeks; Orioles, Mike Wright, John Means, Yefry Ramirez, Josh Rogers, Pedro Araujo, Bo Schultz.
Rays information: 1-888-326-7297
Wednesday: vs. Red Sox (ss), 1:05; Rays, Ricardo Pinto; Red Sox, TBA; Fox Sports Sun; raysbaseball.com radio
Thursday: vs. Twins; 6:35; Rays, Blake Snell; Twins, TBA; 620-AM, 95.3-FM
Friday: at Orioles; 1:05 p.m.; Rays, TBA; Orioles, TBA
2: vs. Phillies (ss); 1:05 Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 95.3-FM
at Blue Jays (ss), 1:07
3: at Pirates, 1:05; 620-AM, 95.3-FM
5: at Twins (ss), 1:05
vs. USF, 6:05 620-AM, 95.3-FM
6: vs. Orioles, 1:05; Fox Sports Sun; raysbaseball.com radio
7: vs. Blue Jays, 1:05; raysbaseball.com radio
8: at Twins, 1:05
9: vs. Orioles (ss), 1:05; Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 95.3-FM
10: vs. Red Sox, 1:05; MLB Network, 620-AM, 95.3-FM
11: at Phillies, 1:05
12: at Blue Jays, 1:07
14: vs. Phillies (ss), 1:05; raysbaseball.com radio
15: vs. Tigers (ss), 1:05; Fox Sports Sun; raysbaseball.com radio
at Pirates (ss), 6:05
16: vs. Twins, 1:05; Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 95.3-FM
17: at Red Sox (ss), 1:05; 620-AM, 95.3-FM
18: vs. Pirates, 1:05; raysbaseball.com radio
19: at Yankees, 1:05; Fox Sports Sun
21: vs. Braves (ss), 1:05; raysbaseball.com radio
at Red Sox (ss), 6:05
22: vs. Pirates, 1:05, Fox Sports Sun; raysbaseball.com
23: at Tigers, 1:05; 620-AM, 95.3-FM
24: at Braves (North Port), 4:05; 620-AM, 95.3-FM
25: at Phillies, 1:05
26: vs. Tigers (at Tropicana Field), 12:35; Fox Sports Sun; raysbaseball.com