ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays have set their roster for the opening round of the playoffs, and the starting lineup for Game 1 includes Rocco Baldelli as the designated hitter.
Baldelli began the season as a special instructor while rehabbing a shoulder injury from 2009. He played briefly in the minor leagues before being recalled Sept. 1. In 10 games, he batted .208 with one homer and five RBIs.
The only roster surprise was the absence of Willy Aybar, one of the team's most productive pinch-hitters. Rookie Desmond Jennings was kept over him, primarily because of speed and defense.
Other notable players left off were outfielder Brad Hawpe, catcher Dioner Navarro and relief pitcher Lance Cormier. Starter Jeff Niemann will work out of the bullpen against the Rangers.