Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shortstop Escobar expects quick return

TORONTO — SS Yunel Escobar wasn't in the lineup Friday against the Blue Jays because of lingering tightness in his right hamstring, but both he and Rays officials are confident he won't need to go on the disabled list.

Escobar said he was improving but felt the discomfort "in everything, even walking, in every movement I make," and he didn't know when he would return.

Manager Joe Maddon said Escobar was moving around okay, and the Rays hoped he could DH today and go back to shortstop Sunday, but at worst that he would return Monday.

"Part of why we want to be cautious now is to really keep it at a minimum," Maddon said. "We haven't even discussed the DL to this point, honestly. I think he'll be fine."

All-Star Ben Zobrist moved from second base to replace Escobar at short as the Rays took advantage of their middle-infield depth with Ryan Roberts called up while 1B James Loney is on paternity leave.

Escobar, speaking with RHP Joel Peralta interpreting, said, "I'm going to try to be back as soon as a I can, but right now I have no time limit."

Escobar went home to Miami with team permission for the All-Star break, though Maddon said the absence of treatment on the hamstring, which forced Escobar from Sunday's game, was "a big part" of the team being cautious and holding him out.

"He was able to get some good rest but didn't get the … proper kind of treatment, and there needs to be some movement involved, and he didn't get that, either, sitting around in Miami,'' Maddon said.

PAPA: Loney is expected back Sunday after the Thursday birth in Clearwater of an 8-pound, 2-ounce boy he and his wife, Nadia, named Jordan James.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Alex Cobb (concussion) is set to make the first of at least two rehabilitation starts for the Class A Stone Crabs on Tuesday in Port Charlotte. Cobb said via text message he "felt really good" throwing in a simulated game Thursday and was eager to continue his comeback from being hit in the head by a liner June 15. He is seeking an early August return.

Maddon said Cobb was "getting closer" but would need to pitch at least twice in the minors: Tuesday and July 28.

Maddon said reports have been good on how Cobb has thrown and how he has handled being on the mound. "No negative impact regarding him throwing a pitch or worrying about a ball hit back at him, so that seems to be coming along pretty well," Maddon said.

Cobb was in line to face Toronto's J.A. Happ, who is rehabbing with Class A Dunedin after also being struck in the head by a line drive at the Trop, but Happ is moving up to Triple A.

RHP Brandon Gomes, out since mid May (lat strain), is scheduled to make a rehab outing today for Charlotte.

GUERRIERI OUT: RHP Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays' top pitching prospect, was sent to Port Charlotte to be examined by team doctors after leaving Monday's start for Class A Bowling Green with elbow stiffness. Guerrieri was pitching for the first time after getting two weeks off because of fatigue and left after two innings.

ON THE SPOT: An eighth-inning single is not quite as dramatic as his two homers in Houston, but for the second time this month, Roberts was called up form Triple-A Durham and helped win a game, this one 8-5. "It feels great,'' he said. "I feel more blessed than anything.''

MISCELLANY: DH Luke Scott extended his hitting streak to a career-high-matching 11 games. … Maddon used RHP Kyle Farnsworth for one batter to start the eighth in a concerted effort to reduce Peralta's workload.

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