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3/25/09 GDT: Rays @ Pirates; Jeff Niemann's Last Chance?

Game Time: 7:05 PM

TV/Radio: 620 WDAE


Jason Bartlett SS
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Pat Burrell DH
Willy Aybar 1B
Ben Zobrist CF
Gabe Gross RF
Shawn Riggans C
Adam Kennedy 2B

Pitchers: Jeff Niemann, Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Jason Isringhausen, Brian Shouse, Joe Nelson

*Matt Garza to appear in Minor League Game

Things to watch: Your turn Jeff Niemann. A strong performance by Niemann tonight puts the Rays in a tight spot. It seems Hammel is the favorite, but after back to back lackluster performances, a good start by Niemann may force someones hand. This could to be the last start by a fifth starter candidate before one is named either later this week or weekend.

Evan Longoria returns to the lineup tonight after his one at bat in the World Baseball Classic.  Aki Iwamura has not reported yet, but is expected to be back at some point today. Adam Kennedy will start at second in his place.

Ben Zobrist gets another start in centerfield, adding to the speculation that he will be there on opening day in Fenway Park.

We will also get some more looks at Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Jason Isringhausen, Brian Shouse and Joe Nelson.