Longo set for debut; Miller to see time at SS

Longo set for debut; Miller to see time at SS

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Evan Longoria missed two days last week with a bug, which delayed his start to Spring Training. On Tuesday, the longest-tenured Ray will start at third base when the Rays host the Twins in Port Charlotte.

Longoria will follow that start with a stint at DH on Wednesday when the Rays host the Phillies.

Brad Miller will play shortstop later in the week. Miller, who began the 2016 season as the team's starting shortstop, is penciled in to play second base this season. Still, the Rays would like Miller to stay familiar with his old position.

"We're going to get Brad there a couple of times this spring," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Worth noting

Jake Odorizzi will start for the Rays on Wednesday in Port Charlotte against the Phillies, and Jose De Leon will make his first start on Thursday in Fort Myers against the Red Sox.

Nick Ciuffo had to leave Monday's 7-2 win over the Phillies in the eighth inning after hitting a single to right. Earlier in the game, the catching hopeful got stung by a ball off his left quadriceps, leaving a contusion.

Ciuffo smiled when asked about his injury. "It's going to be tight."

Nick Franklin doused the Phillie Phanatic with water prior to Monday afternoon's game. Not to be outdone, the Phillies' mascot playfully challenged the entire Rays dugout to throw down.

Corey Dickerson walked in the first inning of Monday's game. When Franklin followed with a single, the slimmer Dickerson easily breezed into third base. He scored when Casey Gillaspie grounded into a double play. Dickerson lost 25 pounds over the offseason.

"I just wanted to get on base," Dickerson said. "... Really be able to run the bases. That was probably the highlight of my day. Get on the bases and being able to go first to third was pretty nice."

Dickerson hit his first home run of the spring when he cleared the wall in left in the fifth inning, giving the Rays a 5-2 lead.

Dickerson's two-run shot

"I was sitting slower outside, because I knew I could get my hands through the fastball," Dickerson said. "He left it in a good spot. I saw it right away and put a good swing on."

Blake Snell started for the Rays on Monday. The left-hander went 6-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts for the Rays last season. Cash acknowledged that Snell had some "inconsistencies" but added "you look at his overall performance, really, it was pretty good for a young pitcher.

"I think that's going to vault him into a higher confidence going into the season," said Cash noting Snell needs to improve his fastball efficiency and command. "... Nothing really from a pitch-choice standpoint, but I think as soon as Blake can establish throughout this league that he can come in and throw strikes with his fastball, he's going to put himself in a really good category of starting pitchers."

"... I think what Blake has that maybe a lot of young pitchers don't is four of what we view as quality pitches. Rarely do you see a 6-foot-4 power left-hander who can throw four quality pitches."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.