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Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria trying to combat slump with new batting practice routine

ST. PETERSBURG — 3B Evan Longoria has adopted an unusual batting practice program that he hopes helps him get back to his usual success.

Rather than hit with the team during the standard 4:40-5:40 p.m. slot, Longoria three times this homestand has taken batting practice on the field by himself at around 2 p.m.

The plan allows him to work one-on-one with hitting coach Derek Shelton, and also permits them to use video and hit for extended sessions rather than rotating with other players.

"I've just been trying to get back to my old swing, and we're trying to put videos together of what it was like in 2009-10 and how it's been this year," Longoria said.

"And it allows me when I take a good swing to stay in there and three or four or five or six more until I take a bad one, then take a step back and regroup. Just kind of a different way of going about it."

Though Longoria is just 5-for-31 on the homestand, and hitting .225 overall, he said there has been definite progress.

"I've been feeling pretty good so I kind of want to keep that momentum going and get that swing back into my mind again," Longoria said. "I enjoy being out there with the guys, but just the way my swing feels now, I want to keep a good thing going."

PITCHING IN: Maddon clarified his Sunday answer and said the Rays will not need to call up a starter for next week's day-night doubleheader in Boston since they have a day off before and after the three-games-in-two-days series. Under the current plan, Wade Davis will work the Aug. 16 day game and Jeff Niemann the nightcap, with David Price in the Aug. 17 matinee finale.

MORE MOORE? Top prospect LHP Matt Moore continues to dazzle at Triple-A Durham, earning International League pitcher of the week honors after going 2-0, 1.54 with 19 strikeouts in 112/3 innings. Promoted after going 8-3, 2.20 at Double-A Montgomery, Moore is 3-0, 1.09 in four starts for the Bulls.

Though it's possible Moore will get a late-season callup — "There is a chance," team president Matt Silverman said on 620-AM radio — it is unlikely unless the Rays get back into the postseason race and he could be used in relief, similar to David Price in 2008.

Moore, 22, has thrown 127 innings, plus has pitched in the Southern League All-Star and Futures games.

DOING THE WAIVE: DH Johnny Damon said he heard he has already been through waivers, which would make him eligible to be traded. "I'm not really thinking too much about it because it's something I can't control," said Damon, in a 2-for-31 skid. "Whatever happens, happens. Everybody knows how much I love it here."

RHPs Kyle Farnsworth and James Shields are among other Rays reportedly put on waivers, a common practice as teams will do so with almost all players as they can be pulled back if claimed.

PRICE CHECK: Price was in better spirits the day after his disappointing Sunday start and said his father, who was at the game, texted him with a potential solution. "He said I wasn't finishing my pitches," Price said. "I hope that's it, because that's simple."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C John Jaso (oblique) starts his rehab assignment tonight with Durham and will split time between catcher and DH, though on a conservative schedule that will last at least two weeks. … Maddon said there was nothing new on RHP Alex Cobb, who is on the DL with numbness and a dead arm feeling of undetermined origin.

MISCELLANY: Royals LF Alex Gordon's first-inning double snapped a career 0-for-37 at the Trop. … CF B.J. Upton and Price will visit south St. Petersburg rec centers from 11-1 today as part of the Rays Dugout Club; Price goes to Gladden Park and Campbell Park, Upton to Childs Park and Wildwood. … Price will sign autographs from 11-noon Wednesday at the Florida Blue Center (201 N Westshore Blvd., Tampa).

Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria trying to combat slump with new batting practice routine 08/08/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2011 11:53pm]
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