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Playing hunch, Maddon starts Brignac at short

Playing hunch, Maddon starts Brignac at short

ARLINGTON -- Hunches are a manager's prerogative, and Joe Maddon acted on one Sunday by starting Reid Brignac at shortstop instead of Jason Bartlett.

"I have confidence in both of these guys and it's just really close calling between both of them versus this pitcher today," Maddon said. "And honestly, with the right field the way it is here, Reid has that kind of pop [that] he may walk into something today."

Maddon noted that defensively the two are similar players.

"So there's just maybe more of a hunch thing," Maddon said. "But I normally don't go with what you would call a hunch, but looking at the numbers, they are really similar between the two players versus this pitcher today. ... Reid sitting for a couple of days normally comes up and does a pretty good job."

Brignac has a single in three career at-bats with a strikeout against Texas Game 4 starter Tommy Hunter while Brignac is 2-for-7 with two strikeouts against the right-hander.

Maddon added that Brignac could bring some "new energy" to the lineup Sunday and he is not concerned about Brignac being able to handle the moment.

Brignac has rewarded Maddon when he has had similar hunches this season by coming through with some big hits, including the July 17 game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium when Brignac fueled a 10-5 win with two home runs and five RBIs. Brignac also had a walk-off home run against the Yankees in the Rays' 1-0 win at Tropicana Field on Sept. 13.

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