MIAMI — Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen isn't afraid to speak his mind, no matter the topic.
And Guillen, as he sat in Miami's new $515 million stadium Friday, said he believes the Rays "deserve" and "earned" a new ballpark, joking he'd "put in a couple million" to help.
"Build the ballpark for them, please. Why not?" Guillen said. "They're playing well. They've got a great organization. I think now they deserve that. They earned it. They play the game good, play the game right, and play the game hard, and in a very tough division. … If one team deserves a new ballpark, it's them, because I think fans will support it a little bit better, and I think it'll be great for the city."
Guillen, a Devil Ray in 2000, points out how far the organization has come, making the playoffs three of the past four years.
"I played for that organization when they were very bad. They didn't know what they were doing," Guillen said. "They were terrible, including myself. … But little by little, they put it together. Give them a lot of credit. A lot of people talk about a lot of organizations, that organization put it together quick, and whoever did it, they did it right. …
"Give them a new stadium, I'll put in a couple million."
Guillen credits manager Joe Maddon, saying he is one of two managers (along with the Twins' Ron Gardenhire) that he admires.
"You don't win manager of the year two years because you're cute," Guillen said. "He's not cute. He's good.
"He's been winning all these years. He's a very smart baseball man, very smart. And players love to play for him and respect him. That's all you can ask as a manager. When players love to play for you and respect you, you've got it done."
Maddon has mutual respect for Guillen and laughed when he heard the colorful manager's "cute" reference.
"He meant handsome," Maddon said. "I don't think Ozzie would ever refer to another man as being cute, nor would he refer to them being handsome. Although he could have went there and I would have accepted."
MEDICAL MATTERS: 3B Evan Longoria will take the next step in his recovery from a partially torn left hamstring today by doing running/acceleration drills, which should tell the Rays when he can start his rehab assignment. Longoria has targeted mid June as a return date.
RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow strain) will start a rehab assignment Monday in Port Charlotte. But Maddon said the Rays are going to be cautious and "don't have the absolute finish line with him."
WELCOME BACK: OF/1B Brandon Allen cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Durham. Maddon was pleased the Rays can keep him in the organization. "I still think he's going to be very helpful to us down the road," Maddon said.
HITS HOME: RHP James Shields was especially disappointed that I'll Have Another was scratched from today's Belmont Stakes and retired due to a swollen tendon in his left leg. Shields' uncle Jim Jimenez is the horse's farrier (provides hoof and foot care), and the Rays starter got to see the horse, which would have been vying for the Triple Crown, this week while in New York.
"It's a shame," Shields said. "It's really sad to be honest with you. He's a great horse."
MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore enters tonight's start feeling good, coming off his first win in more than a month, and he believes he is close to where he wants to be.
Moore has a 2.89 ERA over his last five starts.
"I feel like each time out I have better fastball command," Moore said. "And it's just due to me attacking more, being more aggressive. I'm not sure if it's too much like mechanical, I think more of it's just kind of that overall feel when you're out there."
MISCELLANY: The Rays signed three draft picks: seventh-round OF Marty Gantt (College of Charleston), 10th-round LHP Sean Bierman (University of Tampa) and 30th-round CF Michael Williams (Kentucky). … Maddon hit LF Desmond Jennings second to put room between him and RHP Jeremy Hellickson, plus he liked INF Will Rhymes at leadoff against a right-hander.