Rocco Baldelli was slated to start in right field, with switch-hitting Willy Aybar in the designated-hitter role. First baseman Carlos Pena, a left-handed hitter, was also scheduled to take the field, despite exiting Thursday's game after the second inning with a scratch to his left cornea.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Pena was re-evaluated by ophthalmologist Mark Sibley prior to coming to the park on Friday, and the slugger was scheduled to take pregame batting practice with the anticipation that he would start.
"As of right now, it's in pretty good shape," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's going to go through the whole process again. If there's any concern that it will be inappropriate, we will do something else."
If Pena is a late scratch from Friday's night game, Maddon said he will move Aybar to first base and Baldelli to DH. Under that scenario, rookie Fernando Perez would take over right field. But if Pena is removed in the middle of the game, Maddon would insert Eric Hinske, since moving Aybar would cause the club to lose the DH.
Aybar wasn't in Thursday's starting lineup, but took over for Pena at first base in the third inning. Maddon said he felt confident starting Aybar on Friday despite the switch-hitter's 0-for-6 numbers against Buehrle.
Meanwhile, Baldelli is a career .500 (5-for-10) hitter vs. Buehrle, including a double and a home run. The 26-year-old will be making his first career postseason start, and just his fourth start in right field this year.
"Rocco has played really well in right field whenever he's been out there," Maddon said. "As long as Rocco feels up to playing the outfield, I'm up to [playing him]."
Baldelli spent the first 116 games of the 2008 season on the disabled list with a rare mitochondrial disorder that causes extreme fatigue. After two rehab assignments, he was reinstated to the roster on Aug. 10 as Carl Crawford was placed on the DL.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.