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Scott starts in left as Rays shuffle lineup

Scott starts in left as Rays shuffle lineup


ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays switched up their lineup on Saturday afternoon against the Royals, giving Luke Scott his first start of the season in left field and bumping him up to the third spot in the order.

Scott got the start in left field largely because Evan Longoria's plantar fasciitis still has him relegated to designated hitter duty, which shifted Kelly Johnson from left field to third base for the third straight day.

Manager Joe Maddon wanted Scott's bat in the lineup against Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday. Since Tampa Bay started more of a groundball pitcher in Alex Cobb and Scott has looked fine in the outfield in brief late-inning appearances there this season, Maddon figured it was worth trying out the new look.

Scott had gone 3-for-3 as a pinch-hitter this series after recording three hits in his previous 23 at-bats. Johnson, meanwhile, has only three hits in his last 33 at-bats over his last eight games and moved down to the seventh spot for Saturday's game.

"It's all about people getting on base in the first three spots," Maddon said. "Luke's been doing a little bit better job more recently, Kelly's struggled a little bit, so let's take a little heat off Kelly and put a little bit more heat on Luke and see if he responds."

Things should get back to normal starting on Tuesday in Boston, when Maddon expects Longoria to be healthy enough to play third base. Whether Longoria can start at third in both halves of Tuesday's doubleheader, however, remains to be seen.

"We'll see how he feels. I've never had this malady and I hear different things," Maddon said. "One thing I've heard, once he gets back on the grass, that it might feel kind of normal again. Could DH one of the games. I'm not sure yet."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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