Mike Brosseau will make his first career start at first base as the Rays wrap up a two-game home-and-home series with the Braves tonight in Atlanta. First pitch is at 7:10.
With the Braves starting lefty Max Fried, the Rays have seven right-handed hitters in the lineup.
Manager Kevin Cash had some choices in how to set things up. He opted to put Yandy Diaz at his more comfortable position of third base and Jose Martinez in the DH slot, making Brosseau the choice for first base.
Brosseau has gotten most of his playing time at third base and second, and has spent some at the corner outfield spots. He did start 42 games at first base in the minors.
“I’m excited,” Brosseau said. “My comfort level is pretty good over there. Not as great as maybe second or third base, but I definitely feel comfortable enough to do a good job and help the team over there.”
Brosseau said the most difficult part of the assignment is probably keeping track of the distance he is from the base, especially when the Rays are in a shift.
Ji-Man Choi, a natural lefty who has started switch-hitting, sat out Wednesday’s game with a sore right shoulder. He said Thursday, and Cash agreed, that he was feeling better and available off the bench tonight.
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is getting his first day off of the season, as Manuel Margot is starting in center.
The Rays have lefty Ryan Yarbrough on the mound, coming off a strong Saturday outing, in which he threw 5-1/3 scoreless innings.
Blake Snell is set to start Friday in Baltimore against ex-mate Alex Cobb and is looking at working three-four innings.
Also, lefty reliever Colin Poche had his Tommy John elbow surgery on Wednesday in Texas. He will be out at least until the late part of next season.