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Rays Are Masters of Infield Shifts

Brian Blanco/European Pressphoto Agency

Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher likes to call Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon “the mad scientist,” and with good reason. When the two teams met, in St. Petersburg, Fla., on the opening weekend of the regular season, the Rays’ fielders moved to the left and to the right and straight into the Yankees’ heads.

“First, second, third game of the season, just leave spring training, you hit a couple of rockets and next thing you know, they’re right at somebody,” Swisher said last week, recalling how the Rays’ aggressively positioned defenses made it seem as if they had 15 players on the field instead of 9.

During Tampa Bay’s three-game sweep, Maddon not only loaded the right side of the field against left-handed...

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