Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Longoria takes day off to rest sore body

PHOENIX — 3B Evan Longoria knew it wasn't the best time given how well he has been hitting. That it didn't make much sense with the Rays off Thursday and again Monday. That it was a bit awkward since he had his family with him and other relatives in town to watch. And that it didn't look particularly good with the Diamondbacks starting ace Zack Greinke.

But as Longoria has gotten older, one thing he has forced himself to do is listen to his body. And, for a number of reasons, that made Tuesday the right night to be out of the Rays lineup for the first time this season.

"It doesn't come at an ideal time, but I need a day off," he said. "It's overall body soreness. I fouled a ball off my ankle the other day. Then I took a ground ball off my shin. My body's a little worn down. It's been a long road trip."

Longoria, 30, had started all 56 games, and 159 in a row dating to June 9, 2015. His 538 games played since opening day 2013 are the most in the majors.

His plan is to be back at third base for today's matinee. Had he waited to rest today, he would have had the benefit of nearly three days off with the Rays idle Thursday and playing at home Friday night. But he said there were enough reasons to act immediately.

"It looks the way it looks, but it is what it is. I'm trying to be smart for myself and for the club," Longoria said.

"A couple of years ago I may not have done it, but it's one of those times I need to. I hate taking days off. It's even hard for me to come to terms with them when I know I need them. This is one of those situations where it's calling my name and I don't want to avoid it."

Manager Kevin Cash had to tweak his lineup a bit, with Taylor Motter starting at third and OF Desmond Jennings going into the No. 3 spot.

ALEX THE GREAT: RHP Alex Colome knew he wasn't going to be working Tuesday, having pitched, and recorded the save, in four straight games, including Monday's 6-4 win.

Colome, who threw 34, 9, 8 and 11 pitches, said he "felt good" with no soreness or concerns when he woke up and plans to be available if needed today.

It's not usual for a team to use a reliever four straight days, even more so in high-leverage situations, but Cash said they were comfortable doing so as Colome insisted he was ready and able.

Colome has been a huge part of the Rays bullpen with RHP Brad Boxberger out, converting all 16 save opportunities in 24 total appearances (26 innings), including a May stretch of four straight games over five days.

"I don't think we've overused him," Cash said. "We're not trying to set new trends by pitching guys four days in a row. That's not ideal. I understand that."

PITCHING IN: With Colome out and LHP Xavier Cedeno having pitched in four of five games, the Rays shifted RHP Matt Andriese to the bullpen for Tuesday. Andriese wasn't used and remains in line to start Friday. … RHP Jake Odorizzi starts today coming off a career-high 120 pitches but said he "surprisingly" didn't feel additional soreness the day after and doesn't expect to be limited.

MEDICAL MATTERS: 2B Logan Forsythe (fractured left shoulder) heads to Triple-A Durham tonight to start a two- or three-game rehab assignment, eyeing a return by early next week. … 2B Steve Pearce said his right elbow felt "a lot better" and he expects to be back in the lineup and playing second on Friday.

MISCELLANY: The Chewbacca Mom, an Internet sensation (see tampabay.com/blogs/rays), will throw out the first pitch for Saturday's Star Wars night. … 1B Logan Morrison extended on-base streak to 10 games. ... Montgomery players making the Double-A Southern League All-Star team are INFs Willy Adames and Casey Gillaspie and Ps Jacob Faria and Chih-Wei Hu. … Bowling Green players making the Class A Midwest League game are C Brett Sullivan, Ps Genesis Cabrera and Diego Castillo and INFs Jacob Cronenworth, Kevin Padlo and Michael Russell. ... First pitch temperature was 104 outside, 79 inside Chase Field. ... Greinke threw his 15th career complete game, and first shutout since July 2013 against the Rockies. ... The Rays were shutout for the third time, first since April 15.

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