The Rays’ lineup has a different look tonight, with Wander Franco moving down a spot to third for the first time this season.
Manager Kevin Cash said not to read much into it, that he is just trying out a different look. Franco was in the spotlight anyway, as the team is giving out replicas of the diamond-studded No. 5 necklace he wears on a silver chain.
Several Rays staff and players were wearing the chain in the clubhouse and on the field during pregame work. Franco said he was honored they did and that the team did the promotion in his honor. Cash declined but said he could be convinced to wear it on Saturday if Franco gets a certain amount of hits tonight, though he wouldn’t commit to a number. Cash did grab a bunch for his son J.D.’s Little League team.
One other note about the lineup is that Manuel Margot is serving as designated hitter, with Harold Ramirez in rightfield.
Cash said Margot is fine, that the decision to keep him off his feet was more preventative as he had been on the injured list with a right hamstring strain. Margot is on a 13-game hitting streak that is the longest active streak in the American League and longest by a Ray since Austin Meadows had 16 in 2019. The team record is 19 by Jason Bartlett in 2009.
Lefty Jeffrey Springs, a converted reliever, is starting for the Rays, right-hander Jameson Taillon for the Yankees.
Cash said he was confident the Rays have been putting in the work on their defense and would soon get back to playing at their usually high level.
The Yankees again are without infielder DJ LeMahieu, who has been dealing with left wrist soreness. He is said to be available off the bench tonight.
Here is the Rays’ lineup:
And for the Yankees:
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