BRADENTON, Fla. -- Sean Rodriguez played first base in the late innings of Monday afternoon's 6-3 win over the Red Sox. Manager Joe Maddon noted that seeing Rodriguez wearing a first baseman's mitt could become a common site this season.
The Rays manager said Rodriguez will likely play the position some against left-handers, giving the left-handed hitting James Loney a break.
"You have to figure with Longo at third, Escobar at short, Ryan Roberts at second, me at first, that gives you two extra right-handed bats in the lineup [against a left-hander]," Rodriguez said.
He chuckled recalling the first time he played first base in the Major Leagues in 2010 for the Rays.
"Zo [Ben Zobrist] was nursing a bad back," Rodriguez said. "And Los [Carlos Pena] rolled his ankle and Joe just came up to me and said, 'You ever played first?'" Rodriguez said. "I said, 'Yeah, yeah.' In reality, I really hadn't, but I had to make him feel confident about throwing me over there. I felt confident going over there."
Rodriguez understands that playing first base requires certain skills, but he sounded confident about having the necessary tools to execute whatever needs to be done.
"I'm not saying [playing first is] easy or anything," Rodriguez said. "But if I can play second, short and third, I can play first. Just a bigger glove and you have to remember to come out to the mound on base hits with a runner on second.
"That was the only thing I was worried about. I had to remind myself to do that. For the most part, I understood how to hold them on, how to come off the bag, how to look in to see if they want me to cover the line. It makes sense."
One thing is certain, Rodriguez is definitely excited about being a consideration at first.
"Whatever is going to get you your ABs," he said.