Rays trim roster, announce lineup
Maddon bats Crawford fifth, decides on 15 position players
ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Rays won't announce their final 25-man postseason roster until Thursday's 10 a.m. ET deadline, manager Joe Maddon said on Wednesday that the club will go with a makeup of 15 position players and 10 pitchers for the American League Division Series.
Maddon also revealed Thursday's starting lineup, which will be, in batting order: Akinori Iwamura, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Cliff Floyd, Dioner Navarro, Gabe Gross and Jason Barlett.
While Crawford voiced his displeasure with batting lower in the order, saying he felt like he had to "prove himself all over again", Maddon felt the move was necessary, particularly for Thursday's Game 1.
"I don't want to apply that kind of pressure," Maddon said. "I just [want] him to go play. ... Just basing it on everything I'm seeing, I thought the appropriate thing to do was to start him a bit lower."
Crawford was originally under the impression he would bat sixth, but Maddon announced during Wednesday's press conference that he wanted Crawford to follow Longoria in the five hole.
"There's the fact that he hasn't played in a while," Maddon said. "The fact that I think he is a better RBI guy than people give him credit for, and last, I like him setting up Cliff and Navi."
Crawford was hitting .273 with eight home runs, 10 triples and 57 RBIs at the time of his injury. With 25 stolen bases, the speedy Crawford is a threat on the basepaths that could potentially impact the pitch sequence Floyd sees from opposition.
Although there is no official word, the Rays' decision to go with an extra position player instead of an extra pitcher likely solidified a spot for Fernando Perez, a recent callup whose speed and switch-hitting bat could prove useful in the postseason.
"We do pinch-run and we do pinch-hit," Maddon said. "And we do those different things so having enough guys there [on the bench] kind of made more sense, right now."
With Thursday's starting nine locked in, the six bench players will likely be utility players Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist, outfielders Eric Hinske, Rocco Baldelli and Perez and backup catcher Michel Hernandez.
None of those six bench players have been officially announced on the roster, but Maddon did confirm that outfielder Jonny Gomes, catcher John Jaso and reliever Jason Hammel were told they will not be on the Rays' postseason roster, at least for the ALDS.
As reported on Tuesday, pitcher and fifth starter Edwin Jackson is also off the postseason roster, unless injuries occur. Maddon said the Rays are not waiting to see anything else, but since things are always subject to change, the Rays will wait until Thursday's deadline to make the 25-man roster official.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.