ST. PETERSBURG -- Next time he makes a lineup switch, Orioles manager Dave Trembley may forgo the whiteout. After penciling in Luke Scott for Sunday's series finale with the Rays, the skipper opted to give the achy left fielder the afternoon off.
Since the switch was made before the media entered the clubhouse Sunday morning, the skipper joked that he would have to use two lineup cards next time so his last-minute scratches wouldn't be quite so evident.
Jokes aside, Trembley said Scott has been run down from the artificial turf at Tropicana Field, and was experiencing soreness in his left Achilles heel, shoulder and knee from the series' first two games, in which Scott made some dazzling outfield plays.
"He wants to play, especially here because he's from Florida -- there's probably a lot of people coming to watch him play," said Trembley, who consulted with the outfielder Sunday morning. "But I just don't want to take a chance with him. He's had issues before with his Achilles, and I just don't want to take a chance on something happening to him."
Scott's presence in left field has been invaluable to a struggling O's squad, as the outfielder's number of remarkable plays included a diving catch on the warning track on Friday night to rob the Rays of an extra-base hit. Trembley said some of the soreness, particularly in Scott's knee, likely stemmed from his physical defensive play, but the outfielder was confident he could return for Monday's series opener against the Yankees in Baltimore.
Besides being a defensive pillar, the 29-year-old Scott has also begun to find more power at the plate. Despite a floundering offense, the Florida native is batting .257 with 18 RBIs, and has the O's only two homers in the past 41 innings.
Trembley attributes the power to Scott's ability to pivot and use his legs to generate the home runs, and also noted that the outfielder uses a boot when he is not playing to help rest his legs.
With Scott on the bench, Jay Payton got the start, as the Orioles looked to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Rays. Payton, who batted in the No. 6 hole, entered Sunday's finale hitting .223 with 14 RBIs.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.