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Floyd attacks Rays' complacency

Evan Longoria, warming up before batting practice, is still several days from a return.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Evan Longoria, warming up before batting practice, is still several days from a return.

BOSTON — The Rays covered a number of topics in a 20-or-so-minute players-only meeting called by Cliff Floyd before the game: ending the season on "a good note" with "nothing in the tank," being "on the same page," understanding "what's at stake."

But Floyd also wanted them to understand something else: that their goal should be to win the division and not — as he senses from at least some others — that they would be satisfied, given their big lead, to get into the playoffs as a wild card.

"Where we are right now, from a team standpoint, I'm lost for words, it's like we're okay if we make the wild card," Floyd said.

"No, no, it's not like that. When we were up 5½ games, it wasn't like that. It was like, let's put ourselves in a position where they can't catch us. Let's get back there. Now we're (up a half-game) and it's like, 'Well, the wild card's okay.' No, it's not. Let's get back to where we were. Not, 'We're eight up on Minnesota (for the wild card),' that, 'We're 1½ up on Boston.' Talk like that. That's what we want."

Scott Kazmir said the Rays should "settle for nothing less" than winning the East.

"That's what we've been shooting for, and we've had the lead for this long, and we really have to step up and finish it."

HELP NEEDED: The Rays might seek reinforcements today with several more players hobbling, starting with CF B.J. Upton, whose left quad was strained on a first-inning play and got worse. "I felt like if I had to run hard it was going to go, and pretty much now is not the time for that,'' he said. OF Jonny Gomes would be an option. Backup C Shawn Riggans will be out at least a few days with a right knee problem that could be serious, leaving just called-up John Jaso as the only backup.

Meeting matters: Floyd said several players spoke and the get-together was "awesome."

"It's something that was needed. It has nothing to do with us losing any games," he said. "I'm not saying you're going to see anything different, I'm just saying it was good for our team to have a little sitdown and a little conversation from a family standpoint, and we achieved that."

Manager Joe Maddon said he welcomed Floyd's input and leadership.

Salas has seizure: Reliever Juan Salas had an epileptic seizure after arriving at Fenway Park and was taken to an area hospital, then released and was in the clubhouse at the end of the game. "He's had them before," Maddon said. "It just takes normally hours to get him back" feeling okay.

Longoria update: Maddon told anyone who would listen that 3B Evan Longoria "might" be available to pinch-hit Monday, but his return to the lineup seems likely to be pushed back further than Friday's target day.

Longoria, out since Aug. 7 with a fractured right wrist, felt "fine" after hitting flipped balls Monday and will continue a progression. But Longoria said he may not take his first regular batting practice until Friday, then would want a "live" BP session against one of the Rays' pitchers to get his timing down and would hope to return to the lineup a day or two after that.

Bulls run: Triple-A Durham opens the best-of-five International League finals tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) with LHP David Price on the mound. Maddon said the Rays have discussed bringing up Price and "a couple" other pitchers (Jeff Niemann?) and "that will probably happen in the near future." … The Rays renewed their affiliation with short-season Class A Hudson Valley, which began in 1996, for two more seasons through 2010.

Miscellany: FSN says its ratings are up 83 percent from this time last season. … Dick Vitale, just inducted the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield, Mass., was on hand. … The Sox sold out for an MLB-record 456th time.

Floyd attacks Rays' complacency 09/08/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 2:45pm]
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