Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviews for Astros managerial job

NEW YORK — Rays bench coach Dave Martinez always has a lot to think about.

Even more now that he interviewed this week for the Astros' managerial job.

"It went really well," Martinez said Friday. "It's a great opportunity for me. I met some really nice people. It's a great organization."

Martinez went to Houston on Monday's offday and is waiting to hear back from the Astros. Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter also interviewed this week. Larry Bowa, a former Padres and Phillies manager, met Friday with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, MLB.com reported, but it was unclear if he is a candidate.

Martinez, 47, interviewed previously for openings with the Indians and Blue Jays. He was reported to be a candidate last offseason with the White Sox but never interviewed.

"I don't want this to be a distraction for what we're trying to do here," Martinez said. "I've got a very important job here to do, and that's kind of my focus for now."

LONGORIA PUSHING: 3B Evan Longoria's left leg is not healed, but he said the time to be cautious about his hamstring has passed. "I know that where we are and how important things are that there are going to be a lot more of those times where I'm going to have to push it," Longoria said. "Earlier when I came back (Aug. 7), we had a lot of time to maybe not go as hard or break up that double play or whatever. But it's crunch time now. It's all or nothing.''

ROBERTS OUT: INF Ryan Roberts was "still hurting a bit" from fouling a ball off his left shin Thursday against the Orioles and was not in Friday's starting lineup against the Yankees, but he may be available today, manager Joe Maddon said.

RODRIGUEZ BACK: INF Sean Rodriguez was set to be activated today, though he will be limited to pinch-running, defense and possibly bunting as the right hand he fractured Aug. 26 punching a locker in frustration at Triple-A Durham continues to heal.

SHIELDS UP: RHP James Shields has won only once in seven career starts at the new Yankee Stadium, and that was in his first try, May 20, 2010. But in that span he has beaten the Yankees five times at home, including Sept. 3. He starts on the road today and said he is more interested in what he has done lately: 6-1 with a 1.90 ERA in his past nine starts. "Whether we're at our park or at their park doesn't really matter to me right now," he said. "What matters is how I'm pitching recently, and I think my last nine, 10 games or so have been pretty good."

MINOR MATTERS: The Rays will have at least one championship this season. Their Class A Hudson Valley team, which includes top 2011 draft pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri and top 2012 pick INF Richie Shaffer, won the short-season N.Y.-Penn League title.

"Having an opportunity to play in the playoffs means playing in meaningful games in August and September," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "That is what we strive for as an organization. It benefits all players to be in that environment with the heightened level of play. Great for their individual experience."

MISCELLANY: The Rays clinched the season series with their 10th win against the Yankees, which could help with tiebreakers for playoff spots. … Closer Fernando Rodney logged his seventh save against the Yankees. … Maddon canceled batting practice and allowed the players to show up later than normal (some around 5 p.m.) for as much of a mental/emotional break as anything. … Longoria, LHP Matt Moore and OF Rich Thompson visited the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan. … The rotation for next week's Boston series has not been set, Maddon said, though RHP Alex Cobb is expected to start Monday's opener.

Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviews for Astros managerial job 09/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:39am]

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