February 21, 2013; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays infielder Leslie Anderson (86) poses for a picture during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rays Notes: Close to Regular Lineup for Monday's Game, Leslie Anderson Steps Up


Spring training has been exciting the past couple of days, but way too many of the players were prospects far from the major leagues and Quad-A type guys and not the recognizable Rays that we’re used to. That’s going to change for at least the first half of Monday’s game with the Rays going with a lineup featuring all major league players that we could see Joe Maddon go to at least a couple times this season. It’s still early and it’s only spring training, but Rays fans will get a short glimpse into where the Rays’ offense stands as of now. Here’s the lineup.

Ben Zobrist, RF
Desmond Jennings, CF
Matt Joyce, LF
Yunel Escobar, SS
Luke Scott, DH
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Jose Molina, C
James Loney, 1B
Ryan Roberts, 3B
—-
Alex Cobb, SP

Fine, this lineup is insane- I seriously doubt we’ll see Escobar ever batting cleanup or Jose Molina batting 7th once games start meaning something- but it may be just crazy enough for Maddon to use and it is still cool that all nine players in the lineup plus the starting pitcher Cobb and Jake McGee, who will pitch in relief, will all be on the Rays’ 2013 roster. Obviously Evan Longoria is still absent, but he’ll return Tuesday so that’s only a matter of time. Get ready for an exciting game, and the game will be broadcast on MLB.com’s Gameday Audio if you want to listen in.

Leslie Anderson has been the big hero early on in spring training for the Rays, driving in 5 runs in his first two games including a go-ahead homer and a go-ahead single, and after years of the Rays never showing him much respect, they have finally taken notice.

“Good at-bats,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Beyond that, I’m liking what he’s doing on defense. … Watching him pregame it looks to me as though he’s gotten a better feel for the position, also. He’s looking really good. He’s a different player than what I saw the last time I saw him.”

Crazy things can happen early on in the spring, but congrats to Anderson and good luck to him as he hopes to keep going strong and finally make the major leagues by the end of 2013.

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