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Scott playing 1B tonight and injury updates

Posted Jul 5, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Jul 5, 2012 at 06:10 PM

ROGER MOONEY
CLEVELAND
Luke Scott, who said his hitting woes this season has brought him to tears and would drive him to drink if he wasn’t a Christian, will play first base tonight for the first time this season.

“Why not?” Scott said when asked about the move. “Hopefully I can do something to help the team.”

Scott is hitless in his last 36 at-bats, dating back to June 1. He’s one at-bat shy of tying Jose Cruz Jr., for the longest streak of its kind in team history.

Scott is having a tough time making the difficult transition to fulltime DH. Manager Joe Maddon thinks Scott has too much time between at-bats to dwell on a poor at-bat.

“Putting him in defensively may curtail the over-thinking,” Maddon said.

Scott, who played 12 games at first base last season (10 starts) with the Orioles, forgot to pack his first baseman’s mitt for this trip and will borrow one from Jeff Keppinger.

Speaking of which, Maddon said Keppinger (bruised left triceps) and Hideki Matsui (tight left hamstring) are both available to pinch-hit tonight. Maddon said he is worried about Matsui’s leg and will pinch-run for Matsui if he reaches base.

Matt Joyce cut short his rehab stint in Durham because of lower back stiffness, which he experienced after sliding. Maddon said it’s not related to the left external oblique strain which has him on the disabled list.

“It doesn’t sound like it’s awful,” Maddon said.

Joyce returned to St. Petersburg and will wait until after the All-Star Break before attempting to return.

The original lineup had Sean Rodriguez at third base and Will Rhymes at second. Then Maddon saw the Indians lineup, which has seven lefties and two switch-hitters to face Jeremy Hellickson and Maddon moved Rodriguez to second and Rhymes to third.

Here are the lineups:

RAYS
Jennings LF
Peña DH
Zobrist RF
Upton CF
Scott 1B
Rhymes 3B
Molina C
Johnson SS
Rodriguez 2B

Hellickson RHP (4-4, 3.44)

INDIANS
Choo RF
Cabrera SS
Kipnis 2B
Hafner DH
Santana C
Brantley CF
Kotchman 1B
Damon LF
Hannahan 3B

Tomlin RHP (4-5, 5.85)

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