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Starters swap; Riggans to have surgery

Posted Sep 10, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Sep 10, 2008 at 04:34 PM

BOSTON—Hello from Fenway Park on a beautiful afternoon for baseball. All kinds of pregame news today:

* The Rays have flip-flopped James Shields and Matt Garza for the Yankees series. Garza will now start Friday and Shields on Saturday. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Yankees, apparently. Sounds like the Rays wanted to split up Garza and Jackson in the rotation, get Shields an extra day of rest and line Shields up to start one of the doubleheader games in Baltimore the final week of the season. The change also would have Shields starting the final day of the regular season. But it also will keep him from starting against the Sox, much to his chagrin. It also will keep Garza from facing his former team, the Twins.

For his part, Shields said he doesn’t need any extra rest and really doesn’t know why the change was made. He didn’t have any input on this one.

* Shawn Riggans flew home to Tampa this morning and is scheduled to undergo surgery this afternoon. Dr. Koco Eaton will perform the procedure, which the Rays hope will clear out the infection in the bursa sac in his right knee. Riggans will be out a minimum of two weeks, possibly longer.

An absence that extended likely means new arrival Michel Hernandez will get a start this weekend at Yankee Stadium. Hernandez, a Lutz resident whose only big-league experience consisted of five games with the Yankees in 2003, was pretty excited about that possibility.

* Finally, Evan Longoria took about 30 swings on pitches from head trainer Ron Porterfield today and said everything felt great. He indicated he might go play a rehab game at Durham, but either way said he expect to take live batting practice for the first time Friday in New York and could be in the lineup as soon as that evening. We’ll see.

Here are the lineups for tonight’s rubber game:

Rays
Iwamura 2B
Johnson LF
Pena 1B
Floyd DH
Aybar 3B
Hinske RF
Navarro C
Gross CF
Bartlett SS
Sonnanstine P

Red Sox
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 1B
Bay LF
Lowell 3B
Kotsay RF
Lowrie SS
Varitek C
Beckett P

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