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Multiple spots up for grabs in Rays' lineup

Loney, Longoria have lock on corner infield, but other positions open

ST. PETERSBURG -- Who's on first?

Well, that's one position that's clear for the Rays heading into Spring Training. James Loney will again anchor first base in his third season with the team. Other spots aren't as clear, like the middle infield and the outfield, both of which have undergone change.

New manager Kevin Cash has allowed that he could be a little different than Joe Maddon, the previous manager, in that he'll be looking for more of an everyday lineup to put on the field. But until the action begins to take place, some of the spots, along with the batting order, will be tough to speculate about.

In advance of Spring Training, is examining all aspects of the Rays in the days leading up to the start of camp. Today we'll take a look at the projected starting lineup, starting rotation and back end of the bullpen.

While speculating about the order, one must first consider what the team might do against a certain pitcher, at least until things have a chance to settle. Given that criteria, the projected lineup presented here is based on the assumption the Rays will face right-hander Chris Tillman when they take on the Orioles on Opening Day (April 6). But be prepared for change.

Video: Rays remain strong with core of young players

2014 record
77-85, fourth place in the American League East

Projected batting order
1. LF David DeJesus:
.248 BA, .344 OBP, .403 SLG, 6 HR, 19 RBIs in 2014
2. 2B Nick Franklin:
.160 BA, .222 OBP, .247 SLG, 1 HR, 6 RBIs in 2014
3. 3B Evan Longoria:
.253 BA, .320 OBP, .404 SLG, 22 HR, 91 RBIs in 2014
4. 1B Loney:
.290 BA, .336 OBP, .380 SLG, 9 HR, 69 RBIs in 2014
5. DH John Jaso:
.264 BA, .337 OBP, .430 SLG, 9 HR, 40 RBIs in 2014
6. CF Desmond Jennings:
.244 BA, .319 OBP, .378 SLG, 10 HR, 36 RBIs in 2014
7. SS Asdrubal Cabrera:
.241 BA, .307 OBP, .387 SLG, 14 HR, 61 RBIs in 2014
8. C Rene Rivera:
.252 BA, .319 OBP, .432 SLG, 11 HR, 44 RBIs in 2014
9. RF Kevin Kiermaier:
.263 BA, .315 OBP, .450 SLG, 10 HR, 35 RBIs in 2014

Projected rotation
1. Alex Cobb, 10-9, 2.87 ERA in 2014
2. Chris Archer, 10-9, 3.33 ERA in 2014
3. Drew Smyly, 9-10, 3.24 ERA in 2014
4. Jake Odorizzi, 11-13, 4.13 ERA in 2014
5. Alex Colome, 2-0, 2.66 ERA in 2014

Projected bullpen
Closer: Grant Balfour, 12/15 saves, 4.91 ERA in 2014
RH setup man: Brad Boxberger, 2.37 ERA in 2014
LH setup man: Jeff Beliveau, 2.63 ERA in 2014

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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