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Rays report: Ji-Man Choi hitting second vs. Yankees’ Gerrit Cole

Corey Kluber will be on mound for Tampa Bay facing the team he pitched for last season.
Ji-Man Choi tends to connect well with the ball when New York ace Gerrit Cole is pitching, so the Rays moved him up in the order today.
Ji-Man Choi tends to connect well with the ball when New York ace Gerrit Cole is pitching, so the Rays moved him up in the order today. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published May 28|Updated May 28

ST. PETERSBURG — Having been shut down for the first two games of the series by the Yankees pitching, the Rays look to break out today when they face New York ace Gerrit Cole.

Given the extraordinary success Ji-Man Choi has had against Cole — 10-for-23 (.435) with four home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.639 OPS including regular-season and postseason play — the Rays moved him up to second in the order. Wander Franco is again hitting third, where he was moved to Friday.

Manager Kevin Cash said placing Choi second was more about keeping the Yankees from using a lefty reliever against him later in the game since there would be three right-handed hitter behind him.

Corey Kluber, coming off a rough outing in Baltimore, starts for the Rays against the Yankees team he pitched for last year, and said while he has several friends on that team, that won’t make it any different today.

A sellout crowd of 25,025 is expected at Tropicana Field, just the second of the season.

Here is the Rays lineup:

And for the Yankees, who have infielder DJ LeMahieu (left wrist) in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday:

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