Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays ready to swing vs. A’s
Posted Jul 21, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Jul 21, 2008 at 05:52 PM
The Rays held optional early hitting at 3:45 p.m. today and darn near every position player showed up to take part.
The turnout clearly warmed the heart of Joe Maddon, whose team will once again try to put something on the board against a tough lefty pitcher tonight. Dana Eveland, you may recall, threw an absolute gem against the Rays during their visit to Oakland in May, allowing three hits and one run in nine innings.
In other pregame news, Jason Bartlett looked fine going through running and sliding drills. He estimated he’s at about 80 percent right now, but it sounds like the plan is to activate him Thursday as the Rays open a seven-game road trip.
I expect the corresponding move will be Ben Zobrist going down, but there is a potential complication: the Rays aren’t sure whether they can just roll Bartlett back out there every day at short as he had done earlier. If he isn’t quite ready to do that, they may have to make another move to get him back on the roster, which could be dicey. If he is, Evan Longoria would again become the backup shortstop. We’ll see in a couple of days.
Here are tonight’s lineups, which include former Rays farmhand Wes Bankston start at first for the A’s: