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Rays Vs. Indians: Evan Longoria Leading Off

Rays manager Joe Maddon has slotted the Rays slugging third baseman Evan Longoria in the top spot of the lineup. Today's lineup per MLB.com:

Longoria, E, 3B
Damon, J, DH
Zobrist, B, 2B
Joyce, M, RF
Upton, B, CF
Kotchman, C, 1B
Rodriguez, S, SS
Fuld, S, LF
Shoppach, K, C

Joe Maddon has put Longoria in the top spot in an effort to end Longo's recent hitting slump. According to Maddon, Longoria needs an opportunity to change his mental approach:

"Hitting in the four hole carries some responsibilities that you're going to feel,'' Maddon said. "So now he's supposed to set it up for the four hole hitter, the two hole hitter, the three hole hitter and we'll see how it works out. Give him a different mental approach.

"The bigger part of it to me is to lessen some responsibility to try to drive in people all the time. Why not get out there and be driven in and let's see how that works?" (per Marc Topkin)

The remainder of the lineup is rather unsurprising. Of note is the continued presence of Sean Rodriguez at shortstop. His bat has not yet dominated right handers, but his defense at shortstop has been highlight-reel excellent in the absence of Reid Brignac. Today, he has another chance to prove himself against righties -- and possibly secure a significant role in the infield.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.