Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Shields says Rays' Longoria forgiven

CHICAGO — Former Ray James Shields said he was looking forward to facing his former teammates on Tuesday night, the Royals pitcher said Friday from Kansas City.

"I'm excited to play against them," Shields said. "Obviously it's going to feel a little weird. It's going to be weird to see all my boys … sitting in the dugout across from me. It's going to be exciting to play them. I've got to get ready for this little battle. It's going to be fun."

Shields also seconded what former teammate Evan Longoria said about them clearing the air after the third baseman's recent comments that the Rays having better camaraderie without Shields and OF B.J. Upton, who is now with the Braves.

"He texted me that he was sorry for the comments and that he respects our relationship and values our friendship," Shields said. "I told him, 'Don't worry about it; it's all good. I accept your apology.' " Shields said he also told Longoria, "I know where you were trying to go with it, but it might not have come out right."

The Rays will keep their pitching rotation in order through Monday's off day, so they will start right-handers Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson and Roberto Hernandez against the Royals. Shields said he liked the idea of matching up with Cobb, who has been among the Rays' top starters, and he was intrigued to hear comparisons have been made between Cobb and him.

Because the Royals were rained out Friday, the Rays won't face their other former teammate now with Kansas City. RHP Wade Davis is scheduled to start Monday against Cleveland.

LINEUP SHUFFLE: CF Desmond Jennings was not in the lineup for the first time this season, manager Joe Maddon sensing he was tired.

"I really thought it was time to give Desmond a day," Maddon said. "He was just chasing too many pitches all of a sudden when he had not been doing that, and that just tells me he's tired."

Maddon took the opportunity to move struggling Matt Joyce, who began the day hitting .185 with two RBIs, into the leadoff spot against the White Sox, and it seemed to work. Joyce was 2-for-5 with a homer in the 5-4 loss. "Hopefully his confidence will jump after that,'' Maddon said.

ESCOBAR UPDATE: SS Yunel Escobar tested his tight right hamstring in an early afternoon workout and again in batting practice, saying he felt better and expected to return to the lineup tonight, having been out since leaving Wednesday's game. Maddon said after Friday's game it "looked good" for Escobar's return tonight.

REHAB REPORT: DH Luke Scott's previously strained right calf felt good enough for him to play a third rehabilitation game for advanced Class A Charlotte on Friday, but he had to leave the game when his right elbow stiffened up after being hit by a pitch. His status to continue rehab will be determined today. Scott was to DH again tonight and then possibly play in the field (first base and/or outfield) Sunday with hopes of rejoining the Rays on Tuesday.

ANOTHER SUSPENSION: Minor-league RHP Jose Disla, 17 and signed in March, was suspended 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances: metabolites of Stanozolol and Nandrolone, per Major League Baseball. Disla is on the roster of the Rays' Dominican Summer League team. He has not pitched in a pro game. He is the eighth Rays minor-leaguer to be suspended for drug-related reasons since last season's start.

MISCELLANY: The Rays have homered in 12 straight games, three shy of the team record set in 2009. … Longoria tied Carlos Peña for second on the team RBI list at 468; Carl Crawford is first with 592. … 1B James Loney is hitting .609 (14-for-23) in his past 10 games. … LHP Alex Torres struck out 10 in five innings for Triple-A Durham, which turned a triple play. Top prospect OF Wil Myers extended his on-base streak to all 19 of his games.

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