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Rocco Won’t Displace B.J. This Year

Posted Aug 10, 2007 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Aug 10, 2007 at 07:00 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas—If all goes well, Rocco Baldelli should begin a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of the month. It won’t last long, as the minor-league regular season ends on Labor Day, but don’t look for Baldelli to step right back into his old spot in center field once he rejoins the Rays.

Considering both the need to continue developing B.J. Upton as an outfielder and Baldelli’s dicey medical history, Joe Maddon said Baldelli will be more of a spot starter in center when he returns.

“B.J. would get the preponderance of the time in center field,” said Maddon. “[Baldelli] would DH a lot, he would play some outfield – we would be really careful with his legs.”

Asked about Baldelli playing first base, Maddon said it hadn’t been discussed. He could get some time in left or right field to give Carl Crawford and Delmon Young a day off in the waning days of the season, though.

“It’s all about how he feels,” said Maddon. “When he comes back, of course I want him to play, but I don’t want to push him. … We’ve got to be smart about this. Hopefully this is the last time this ever happens and we can just move forward.”

Reader Comments

Por (Steve Liddell) on August 11, 2007 (Suggest removal)

CF is now and should forever be Upton’s! If Rocco comes back and stays healthy,he can DH and rotate in all 3 OF positions next year.That terrific diving catch Upton made last night is just a sampling of what’s to come from him in CF.

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Por (RICH BACCHESCHI) on August 11, 2007 (Suggest removal)

RAYS NEED TO PREPARE FOR LONGORIA’S POWER BAT AND ASSUME THAT ROCCO WILL FIT IN FOR 2008 ++ ONE SCENARIO TO AGREE WITH STEVE IN KEEPING [BJ] IN [CF]IN THIS LINEUP: C-NAVI, 1B-PENA, 2B-AKI, 3B-LONGO, SS-HARRIS, LF-CC, CF-[BJ], RF-DEL, DH-ROCCO.++ NEXT SCENARIO IS: ROCCO GOES BACK TO [CF],TRY B.J. AGAIN AT SS, WHO IS ON 2ND ?..AKI, LONGO ON 3RD AND THE DH IS HARRIS/GOMES.++ THE 3RD SCENARIO IS LEAVE AKI AT 3RD, BJ IN CF, ROCCO IS THE BACKUP AND LONGO IS THE MAIN [DH].

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