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Twins Vs. Rays Starting Lineups: Josh Willingham Looks To Extend Hitting Streak To 16 Games

The Minnesota Twins put a lot of faith in winter acquisition Josh Willingham, and the veteran outfielder has responded accordingly with an impressive 15-game hitting streak to open the year. Willingham, who is batting .339 so far on the season, will aim to hit 16 on Sunday against Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann as the Twins look to take the three-game series.

Now that that starter Nick Blackburn is back to health and ready to join the active roster, John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press broke the news that Anthony Swarzak has been shifted into a relief role for the time being.

Swarzak is 0-3 on the year with a 6.75 ERA, and has started 26 games for Minnesota dating back to 2009. Because he has not pitched since April 19th, Swarzak is expected to be available out of the bullpen for the finale. Here are the starting lineups for Sunday's game:

Denard Span - CF
Jamey Carroll - SS
Joe Mauer - C
Josh Willingham - LF
Justin Morneau - DH
Chris Parmelee - 1B
Danny Valencia - 3B
Clete Thomas - RF
Alexi Casilla - 2B
Francisco Liriano - SP

Desmond Jennings - LF
Ben Zobrist - RF
Carlos Pena - 1B
Evan Longoria - 3B
Jeff Keppinger - DH
B.J. Upton - CF
Sean Rodriguez - SS
Chris Gimenez - C
Elliot Johnson - 2B
Jeff Niemann - SP

For more on the Twins, head over to Twinkie Town. For more MLB news and analysis, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.