ST. PETERSBURG — Rays 3B Evan Longoria still doesn't believe it's fair that 3B Alex Rodriguez gets to play for the Yankees and affect the pennant races while waiting for an appeal of his 211-game performance-enhancing-drug-related suspension to be heard.
But because Rodriguez is likely to be in the lineup for the suddenly hot Yankees in a key weekend series at Tropicana Field that begins tonight, Longoria said there is no point in going further than his comments last week to Sports Illustrated's website.
"Nothing's going to change at this point," he said. "The comments that I made where genuine and real, and I stand by those, but it ends there. He's continued to say we have a system in place, and we do. And I think we all respect that and we have to move on, and we have to just play and worry about winning and not anything else. It is what it is."
Longoria, as did manager Joe Maddon, said there is no point in carrying out their own justice by having Rays pitchers throw at Rodriguez, like Boston's Ryan Dempster did Sunday. "I don't think it makes it any better," he said. "Ultimately it probably makes it worse for us because it's putting a guy on base for free that you have a chance to get out."
ARCHED UP: RHP Chris Archer doesn't see much reason to change things tonight given he did pretty well the last time he faced the Yankees, a two-hit shutout July 27. "I try to remember what I did last time, and I watch the guy's last 50 at-bats and see what they've gotten better at and try to apply my strengths versus their weakness, just like any other start," he said. "I feel like if I execute pitches, regardless of how many times I face them, I'm going to be successful."
PITCHING IN: The Rays set their rotation as expected for the rest of the series. LHP David Price starts Saturday against LHP CC Sabathia, and RHP Alex Cobb starts Sunday vs. RHP Ivan Nova. That puts struggling RHP Jeremy Hellickson in line for Monday's makeup game in Kansas City. The Rays will then have to decide whether to start RHP Roberto Hernandez on Tuesday or promote someone.
MISCELLANY: The Rays will have a video tribute for retiring Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before tonight's game. … The signed balls for the Rays Wives Saturday Mystery Ball event, benefiting All Children's Hospital, are $40. Another price was given Thursday.