ST. PETERSBURG -- As Jemile Weeks prepares to find consistency in his swing with Triple-A Sacramento, Cliff Pennington is finding comfort with his new position -- Weeks' position.
Having shifted to second base upon the arrival of shortstop Stephen Drew, Pennington made his second straight start there on Thursday, this time at Tropicana Field for the first of a three-game set with the Rays.
Before Wednesday, Pennington had made each of his previous 439 starts at shortstop, a job he lost in the middle of his offensive struggles. Entering Thursday he was batting .199 with just 18 RBIs. It was just last year he tallied a career-high 58 RBIs to go along with a .264 average.
But manager Bob Melvin is confident in the infielder's ability to adjust to his new home.
"Based on the amount of shifts we have, he's over there working on double plays sometimes, anyway, during the course of the season," Melvin said. "It's not going to be a problem for him. It's just the different angles he has to deal with and getting used to those. But he's a good athlete and plays the middle of the diamond, so ... we feel like the learning curve will be shorter than longer for him."