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Maddon shuffles infield alignment for finale

Maddon shuffles infield alignment for finale

Maddon shuffles infield alignment for finale
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Joe Maddon hinted Wednesday that he wouldn't be afraid to start Jeff Keppinger at third base and Ryan Roberts at second.

He did just that for Thursday's lineup, which featured a much different look than what the Blue Jays saw in the first two games of the series.

Evan Longoria got the start batting cleanup as the designated hitter for the third straight game since coming off the 60-day disabled list with a partially torn hamstring.

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The slugger has been a welcome addition to the team, which has won each game he's been back despite his struggles at the plate. In eight plate appearances, Longoria is 1-for-7 with a sacrifice fly, a single and four strikeouts.

Sam Fuld got the start in left field on Thursday, giving Desmond Jennings the day off.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was utility man Ben Zobrist playing shortstop for the first time since 2009, but he said before the game that it should be "like riding a bike."

"They asked me if I would do it, and I said, 'Sure,'" Zobrist said.

Zobrist added he didn't know if there were any plans for him to see any more time at short the rest of the season, but he feels comfortable filling in there.

"They didn't say anything to me about how much they're gonna do it," Zobrist said. "They said, 'How do you feel about this?' and I said 'Fine.'"

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