The Tampa Bay Rays are going for their sixth win in a row this afternoon at Tropicana Field with Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton and Jason Bartlett out of the lineup.
Upton will miss a second consecutive start after spraining his left ankle in the first inning Tuesday night, but he ran on the field and did some agility drills this morning and said he's doing better.
Upton said he can run straight ahead fine, but lateral movements are giving him difficulty. Manager Joe Maddon said he should be available at least for pinch-hitting.
Zobrist left Wednesday night's game before the fourth inning with low back stiffness. He said he still feels stiff but was hopeful that some more work with the training staff might get him loosened up enough to be available off the bench. Figure on Maddon trying to rest Zobrist unless he's absolutely needed.
Zobrist said his stiffness may have been caused by taking too many swings in the batting cage and noted that he probably ignored some warning signs.
Bartlett is getting a day off that was scheduled earlier in the week.
With the chance to complete a four-game sweep of the Tigers, and with ace David Price on the mound, the Rays have Gabe Kapler in center field, Matt Joyce in right field, Reid Brignac at shortstop and Sean Rodriguez at second base.
Price is attempting to win his 14th game of the season. Rick Porcello starts for Detroit.