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Rays report: Renfroe at first; progress for Choi, Diaz

Top seed in AL playoffs is there for the taking as Rays head into final weekend of regular season.
Hunter Renfroe will make his first-ever start at first base at any level of baseball tonight against the Phillies.
Hunter Renfroe will make his first-ever start at first base at any level of baseball tonight against the Phillies. [ JULIO CORTEZ | AP ]
Published Sep. 25, 2020

Manager Kevin Cash said infielders Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Diaz continue to make progress as they hope to return for the playoffs from the hamstring strains that have sidelined them.

Cash said both went through a full workout at the Trop on Friday morning that including facing live pitching, take ground balls and running the bases, and termed their progress “very encouraging,” saying they looked “very normal.”

Cash also said they don’t have to return to play in a regular-season game to be included on the playoff roster.

Meanwhile, Cash found a way to get rest for some his infielders as he hoped during the final weekend of the regular season, giving outfielder Hunter Renfroe his first-ever start at first base at any level of baseball.

Renfroe made his pro debut at the position on Wednesday, playing the final inning of the game against the Mets.

Cash said Renfroe has looked “very athletic” at first and, with the potential that Diaz could be limited to DH duties, it could be another way to get an extra right-handed bat in the lineup.

The Rays also have Mike Brosseau back at third base after he sat out four games with tightness in his oblique.

Charlie Morton will be on the mound for the Rays in his last regular-season start, feeling good physically and about his repertoire going into what will be his fifth start since a three-plus-week stint on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation.

Here is the Rays' lineup against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez:

Wendle 2b

Arozarena lf

N. Lowe dh

Adames ss

Kiermaier cf

Brosseau 3b

Renfroe 1b

Phillips rf

Zunino c

Morton p

And here is the lineup for the Phillies, who are battling to get into the NL playoff field:

McCutchen lf

Bohm 3b

Harper dh

Realmuto c

Gregorius ss

Segura 2b

Bruce rf

Knapp c

Kingery cf

Velasquez p