For starters: Rays vs. White Sox
Update 5:45 p.m. Maddon said Evan Longoria felt ready to play third base for tonight, but acknowledged it won't be an everyday deal as the All-Star is still dealing with the plantar fasciitis issue in his right foot.
Longoria, who hasn't played third since aggravating the plantar fasciitis last Friday, missed three games and then served as designated hitter the past three in Houston. Maddon said it'll be truly depend on how Longoria feels on a daily basis where he plays.
*RHP Alex Cobb (mild concussion) was really encouraged with how great he felt during a 29-pitch bullpen session Friday, his first since getting struck in the head by a line drive June 15. Cobb said he felt "normal" throwing all his pitches, like he did before the injury. But he said he's still dealing with vertigo symptoms and has not passed all the concussion-related tests he needs to by MLB before getting cleared to pitch. Cobb said there's no timetable for his return, but they're progressing quicker than he expected.
*Maddon said LHP Alex Torres is available tonight for his first back-to-back outings out of the bullpen. Torres has been dominant as a reliever this season, but Maddon said he wanted to be sure Torres was ready physically to do multiple days in a row, and now is the time. That's why Torres was pulled after one inning, and 18 pitches, yesterday.
*The All-Star teams will be announced Saturday night, and Maddon doesn't know how it'll turn out from the Rays perspective. But Maddon believes Longoria is deserving, and LHP Matt Moore should receive "strong consideration," as should SS Yunel Escobar. Maddon said he'd have no problem with Longoria playing in the All-Star game, even as he deals with foot issue, saying it'd likely just be a limited role anyways, a pinch-hit off the bench.
*RHP Brandon Gomes (lat strain) felt he was two outings away from returning to the Rays - he even bought an accidental preppie outfit for the wardrobe themed trip to Houston - when he felt discomfort while warming up for a rehab appearance June 27 in Port Charlotte, derailing his plans.
"It's obviously frustrating," he said.
Gomes said it isn't a major setback, he'll resume throwing Saturday by playing catch and work his way back up again, though believes it'll be quicker than the original program, potentially starting another rehab assignment during the All-Star break.
Update 3:45 p.m. Evan Longoria is returning to third base, playing there for the first time since getting pulled from last Friday's game due to irritation of his plantar fasciittis. Longoria missed three games then played the last three at DH.
This also gets Luke Scott back in lineup as DH.
In other Rays news, RHP Alex Cobb (mild concussion) may be throwing a bullpen session today, his first since getting struck by a line drive in mid-June. He said he's feeling better, able to do quite a bit of cardio and throw from 90 feet. A pretty nice step forward in his progress if he throws a pen today.
Developing: The Rays are back at the Trop tonight to face the White Sox as they open a 10-game homestand that takes them to the All-Star break.
Jeremy Hellickson, who won a team-record tying five games in June, will be on the mound for the Rays against Chicago's Dylan Axelrod.
The Rays took three out of four in Houston from the Astros, who have the worst record in the majors, and now face the White Sox, who have the second worst record in the AL.
Evan Longoria returned to the lineup on Tuesday but has been limited to DH duty due to the plantar fasciitis condition in his right foot.