Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the Rangers-Rays series:
TEXAS RANGERS TAMPA BAY RAYS
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B 1. Desmond Jennings, LF
2. Elvis Andrus, SS 2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Josh Hamilton, CF 3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Michael Young, DH 4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B 5. Johnny Damon, DH
6. Mike Napoli, C 6. Kelly Shoppach, C
7. Nelson Cruz, RF 7. Sean Rodriguez, SS
8. David Murphy, LF 8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B 9. Matt Joyce, RF
SP Matt Harrison, LHP SP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
Ron Washington is trotting out the same lineup against right-hander Jeremy Hellickson that he used in Game 2 versus right-hander James Shields, which means David Murphy in left field, Josh Hamilton in center field, and speedster Craig Gentry on the bench.
For the third time in four games the Rays will face a left-handed starter and that’s the exact same lineup Joe Maddon used against southpaw Derek Holland in Game 2. Maddon also started those same nine hitters versus lefty C.J. Wilson in Game 1, but had Sean Rodriguez atop the lineup and Desmond Jennings hitting eighth to break up Casey Kotchman’s and Matt Joyce’s lefty bats.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: