With a left-handed pitcher on the mound Saturday for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Baltimore Orioles Manager Lee Mazzilli took the opportunity to shake up his lineup.
First baseman Rafael Palmeiro and outfielder Jay Gibbons were given the day off against Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir. Outfielder Eli Marrero started for the first time since July 7, and Chris Gomez was at first base, in the starting lineup for the first time since July 5.
Mazzilli said Gibbons's benching had been planned before he left Friday's game after the fifth inning because of back spasms.
"It's more sore than I expected it to be," Gibbons said prior to Saturday's game. "But I don't think it's anything serious."
Marrero has had only one plate appearance since July 7, a sacrifice fly on July 18 against the Seattle Mariners. Gomez has not had an at-bat since July 5, which is also the last time Palmeiro did not play. Palmeiro has played in 94 games and is on pace to play in 160 games, which would be the most for him since 1998.
Mazzilli Back After Suspension
Mazzilli returned to the dugout Saturday after serving his one-game suspension on Friday.
"You get a little different perspective in the game," he said. "You're managing the game out there but you're also a fan. Being up there you're not actually in the trenches." . . .
Catcher Javy Lopez was 2 for 3 Friday night in his second rehabilitation game. He will return to Baltimore's lineup on Monday against the Texas Rangers.