The Rays today will take on the Twins for the seventh of eighth times this spring, first pitch at 1:05 p.m. with TV coverage on Fox Sports Sun.
Yoshi Tsustugo is hitting leadoff again, and manager Kevin Cash said that is something that could happen during the season against right-handed pitchers, especially at the start, as they hope he has a better second year in the majors.
“Talking to Yosh, he’s very much open to hit wherever,” Cash said. “Depending on a given night, I think we’ve got some flexibility. I know Austin (Meadows), his big year (in 2019) came hitting first and second. And I’m not saying he’s not going to. He could as well. That’s another conversation that I’m going to have with (hitting coach) Chad (Mottola).
“We want to find spots — look, we’re sensitive to a guy like Yoshi, it’s important for him to get off to a good start and find some comfort. And if we can give him some stability, even though we don’t do many things like that throughout the course of the season, but if we can give him a spot and see if he can run with it, why not try it out in the early going?”
Tsutsugo, who had a rough first season, also will be getting time at a new position, filling in at first base while Ji-Man Choi remains sidelined with a knee issue.
* Chris Archer will start and is scheduled for at least three innings, with a chance to start a fourth. Cash said the Rays will continue to be cautious with Archer, who is coming off thoracic outlet syndrome surgery that kept him out last season.
* Cash said outfielder Randy Arozarena is “fine” but out of the lineup for a reason: He has been swinging so much “he’s just got some hand, forearm, everything tightness, soreness.”
“He likes to hit,” Cash said. “So the only way to prevent him from hitting is to tell him that he’s not allowed to go in the cage and not play him.”
* Cash said all was good with centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, his wife Marisa and their new son, Krew Jax. “That’s a pretty cool name,” Cash said. “I mean, what would you expect with KK? So congrats to him and Marisa.”
Here is the Rays lineup:
And for the Twins: