Scott mans first for second time this season

Scott mans first for second time this season

TORONTO -- Luke Scott made his second start of the season at first base on Thursday night in the opening game of the Rays' four-game series against the Blue Jays.

Scott has been on the mend after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder last season, which has limited his duty primarily to designated hitter.

"I feel comfortable doing it," Scott said. "I've put my work in. It's not something that I've never done before. ... I feel like I can go out there and do a good job. So we'll go out there and see what happens."

Scott said that his shoulder and arm have greatly improved.

"I've been able to play first base since Spring Training, because the throws aren't very taxing on the arm," he said. "The thing is, we have a Gold Glove first baseman [Carlos Pena] over there, and he does a great job for us as well."

Scott noted that he is close to being ready to play in the outfield.

"Whether they want to use me out there or not," he said. "Just from a capability standpoint, I'm pretty close. I mean, I can run down fly balls, no problem, take good routes. It's just the throwing when a ball's down the line or to a gap and trying to hold a guy to a single from a double, and that's where the challenge is going to be, initially, when I get back out there. But I'm making good improvements."

When manager Joe Maddon was asked if Scott's use at first meant that Pena would not be playing as much, he said, "I'm going to utilize other people [at first], too, and just try and spot [Carlos] at the right time. There are just so many different combinations we've got going right now. And I'm just going to try and match up the right guys at the right time."

Maddon told reporters on Wednesday that he talked to Pena, who has been struggling, following Tuesday night's game after the veteran slugger struck out four times. And from that conversation, one could easily gather that the idea of sitting Pena, even for a little bit, has been a tough call for Maddon.

"It has nothing to do with whether you're in love with a guy personally. I mean, this guy is the best," Maddon said. "But I've got a greater commitment to the organization and the other guys. So, when at the end of the day you have other guys who are performing pretty well and they can do the same things, you have to make some tough decisions."