ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Manager Robin Ventura wanted to get some veterans off their feet and Jerry Sands in the White Sox lineup.
With the White Sox facing a left-handed starting pitcher for the first time since Opening Day, Ventura is starting Sands in lieu of Melky Cabrera for Sunday’s series finale at the Tampa Bay Rays. Sands is hitting fifth and starting at designated hitter while Avisail Garcia is in right field. Adam Eaton moved from right to left.
Former 17-game winner Matt Moore starts for the Rays. The White Sox won their only other start against a lefty, besting Rich Hill on April 4. First pitch is at 12:10 p.m. CST on Comcast SportsNet as the 8-3 White Sox look for their third series victory in four to start the season.
Sands is on the roster in large part because he has punished southpaws in his career, posting an .848 OPS against them while hitting only .579 versus right-handers. Those numbers along with resting players when he can during a stretch of 19 games in 19 days prompted Ventura to sit Cabrera, who is 5-for-10 against Moore.
“Getting Jerry in there is important against the lefty,” Ventura said. “Move Adam around a little bit and get Avi out in the outfield.
“You get Melky (off) the turf. Trying to get some guys a day here and there, but without the days off it’s a little tougher to do that.”
Sands homered in Wednesday’s victory, but that came against right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes. He has seven at-bats this season, including two against lefties. He singled in a pinch-hit appearance in Saturday’s loss off Tampa’s Xavier Cedeno.
Tyler Saladino is also in Sunday’s lineup as Ventura gave Jimmy Rollins a day off. Dioner Navarro is starting at catcher with Jose Quintana on the mound.