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News » Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-18
One of the keys to the Rays season is the depth and quality of players they have on their bench.

Manager Joe Maddon makes a point to keep them fresh, using them as often as he can and sometimes in different roles.

Friday it paid off when he used hot-swinging switch-hitter Ben Zobrist as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning against White Sox lefty Matt Thornton rather than right-handed Gabe Kapler, and Zobrist delivered a grand slam.

Indicative of Maddon's methods -- similar to what he does with Willy Aybar at times -- Zobrist was surprised at the opportunity as well.

"I really didn't have time to think about it, which is probably a good thing," he said. "I was up in the cage hitting and had no idea that Thornton was even warming up and them someone yells up, "Hey, you're hitting right now." So I just grabbed my helmet and batting gloves and stepped up to the plate."

RAYS 6, WHITE SOX 5: Ben Zobrist put the Rays ahead with a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning as they snapped a three-game home losing streak. James Shields stuck around long enough for the win. And Troy Percival hung on through another adventurous ninth for the save.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 18, 2009

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