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Rays' Escobar leaves with hamstring tightness

Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, throwing out Robinson Cano on a grounder in the fourth inning, says he has never had a hamstring issue before.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, throwing out Robinson Cano on a grounder in the fourth inning, says he has never had a hamstring issue before.

ST. PETERSBURG — SS Yunel Escobar left Wednesday's game against the Yankees before the seventh inning due to right hamstring tightness and is considered day-to-day.

Escobar, whose struggling bat has come alive this homestand, said he felt a "pull" when running to first on his sixth-inning single.

He said he has never had hamstring issues before but was pulled as a "precaution." He will be re-evaluated today.

Escobar was the only Ray to play every inning of every game until the injury. He was replaced at shortstop by Ben Zobrist, who would likely fill in if Escobar has to miss any games.

NO WORRIES: Manager Joe Maddon admitted it was "unreasonable" to expect RHP Fernando Rodney to repeat his historic performance from a year ago, when he set a big-league record for ERA (0.60) for a reliever.

But while Rodney has scuffled, allowing four earned runs in 71/3 innings after giving up five all last season, Maddon's confidence hasn't wavered.

And Rodney bounced back nicely Wednesday, picking up his third save. The Yankees had rallied off Rodney in Tuesday's 4-3 win. But Maddon brought Rodney in Wednesday in a similar situation, with one on and one out.

Rodney gave up a single to Ichiro Suzuki, who had hit a two-run single off him Tuesday. But Rodney rebounded by getting Robinson Cano to ground out and Travis Hafner to fly out.

"That's pretty impressive stuff," Maddon said. "That is a real closer's mentality with great stuff. …

"I have all the confidence in the world in him. And I'm really amazed that some people don't. … He's going to be really good again — he has been good and you're going to see another very productive, high-end, among the best closers in baseball. … It's going to happen."

PRICE CHECK: Maddon, unaware that LHP David Price was disappointed he was pulled after one batter in the ninth inning Tuesday, respected the All-Star's sentiments but stood by his decision.

Maddon said Price would have stayed in had he retired Cano, who led off with a single. Maddon felt better with Rodney at that point, but it didn't mean he lacked confidence in the American League Cy Young Award winner, who bemoaned the fact the Rays are 0-5 in his starts this season.

"There's no question in my mind he's going to get really hot and carry us for a while," Maddon said. "There's a lot going on there, coming off a Cy Young Award year, and all the things that I'm sure he had to do in the offseason. … Nobody is going to want to admit to the distraction, but I'm sure there was. I'm sure the mind is working a little bit differently from this point than maybe it had last year at the same time."

GREAT SCOTT: DH Luke Scott (calf strain), on a planned day off in his minor-league rehab, was at the Trop working out and hitting on the field. Scott said he felt good in his first game with Class A Charlotte, going 1-for-4 with an RBI single, though admitted his timing was a bit off. He'll play for Charlotte tonight and likely through Sunday before being re-evaluated.

STARRY NIGHT: The online fan balloting for the All-Star Game began Wednesday, with the Rays represented by 3B Evan Longoria, C Jose Molina, 1B James Loney, 2B Zobrist, SS Escobar, OFs Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson, and Scott (DH). Fans can vote at mlb.com, with in-stadium balloting at the Trop from May 6-June 16.

MISCELLANY: Price was presented with the 2012 Players Choice Award for American League outstanding pitcher before Wednesday's game. … Longoria's team-high 10-game hitting streak and stretch of 34 games reaching base safely were snapped after he went 0-for-4. … Top OF prospect Wil Myers went 2-for-4 for Triple-A Durham to improve to .328 and has reached base in all 17 of his games. … The Rays have won six straight series against the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

Rays' Escobar leaves with hamstring tightness 04/24/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 25, 2013 12:22am]
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