For starters, Rays at Astros, with Longoria back
Update 7:00 p.m. Evan Longoria has returned to the lineup - albeit as DH - after missing the last three due to the painful plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Longoria did some defensive work pre-game for the second straight day, and ran the bases, with manager Joe Maddon saying they "felt pretty strongly" he was ready to go. Maddon said he doesn't know when Longoria will return to third base, noting how difficult it is to stand around on the foot, it'll just be based upon how he feels each day.
*Maddon felt the six-game suspension levied on Tigers RHP Rick Porcello was "appropriate," and shows that the system works. Ben Zobrist was initially surprised that Porcello received the suspension, but said it was good to see the league take action on an issue that impacts player safety. "I thought (Porcello's pitch) was intentional and obviously the league felt that as well," Zobrist said. "So they doled out the penalty."
*Maddon said it was a "difficult" decision to option Ryan Roberts back to Triple-A Durham - to make room for Price - quipping he hasn't remembered a time where he's ever sent someone down after hitting two home runs the night before. But Maddon praised Roberts for how professional he was in learning the news, and playing so well while knowing it was a strong possibility. "He'll be back," Maddon said.
*The Rays signed their other first round pick, Arkansas RHP Nick Stanek (29th overall). Executive VP Andrew Friedman said they're very excited to add him into the fold, noting they considered him at their earlier first round pick, and that they hope to develop him into the organization's line of strong starting pitching prospects.
Developing: The Rays, having won three straight, will try to keep the streak going tonight against the Astros here in Houston, with ace lefthander David Price making his much anticipated return to the mound.
Price was activated today from the DL, where he's been rehabbing a left triceps strain since mid-May. He'll likely be limited to 90 pitches, with manager Joe Maddon saying the key will him feeling comfortable and healthy.
The Rays optioned INF Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham to make room, even after his two-homer night Monday. That means the Rays feel confident Evan Longoria is ready to return. Longoria has been dealing with plantar fasciittis in his right foot, having missed the last three games, but hoped to play as early as tonight. He was testing it again for the second straight day with early infield drills, and then ran the bases this afternoon at Minute Maid Park. We'll know shortly if he's in the lineup or not.
In other Rays-related news, Tigers RHP Rick Porcello received a six-game suspension and fine for intentionally hitting Rays' Ben Zobrist during Sunday's game. Porcello said he's going to appeal the suspension. The Rays will likely be pleased with the suspension, considering they felt it was intentional and un-called for that Porcello hit Zobrist. Tigers manager Jim Leyland indicated after Saturday's game, when Fernando Rodney threw up and in against Miguel Cabrera, that there would be payback. But Leyland said Sunday it was just "part of the game" and Porcello said the ball just got away from him.
As for tonight's game, 1B James Loney is riding a 12-game hitting streak, having picked up his 500th career RBI Monday night. Having grown up in the Houston suburbs, Loney is enjoying his trip back here, with 6-7 friends and family here watching him play. He's also hitting .364 against lefties this season, and the Rays face LHP Erik Bedard tonight.
Lineups, and more, to come.