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Sean Rodriguez beats Reid Brignac for Rays’ shortstop job

Apr 4, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez AP

Reid Brignac‘s foot injury opened the door for Sean Rodriguez to overtake him on the Rays’ shortstop depth chart and sure enough manager Joe Maddon announced that Rodriguez will open the season as the primary starter.

Brignac (.742 OPS) and Rodriguez (.743 OPS) had nearly identical production this spring, but Brignac was limited to just 13 games while Rodriguez was in the lineup 21 times.

Last season the Rays’ shortstop starts went 76 for Brignac, 49 for Rodriguez, and 37 for Elliot Johnson, who remains on the team as a utility man.

Both are solid defenders and neither has hit much in the majors, although Rodriguez has topped Brignac by 100 points of OPS despite both players sporting a sub-.240 batting average. If nothing else Rodriguez brings significantly more power to the table than Brignac, along with being healthier for now.

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