Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Joe Maddon tries to remind club of playoff feeling

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon resorted to some subliminal motivation Tuesday, having clips of the Rays' past playoff appearances playing on the clubhouse TVs.

"My whole point of that was this — just feel it," Maddon said. "Don't you want to feel it again? Don't you want to feel that again? Why would you not? It's like a drug, man. You want to feel that drug on an annual basis.

"And you get this close, you want that vibe going on. You want that feeling. But you've got to earn it. Nobody's going to give it to you. You're right there, you're knocking on the door, let's go get it."

3B/DH Evan Longoria delivered a similar message in a different way, telling a group of reporters that it was time for the players to look within themselves and take action.

"I think we all understand what's at stake and there is a certain energy about every game, but I think it needs to be a more focused energy," Longoria said. "It needs to be more kind of a grind attitude. It's not going to be easy for us. It never was easy last year, it's never been easy for us in this clubhouse.

"I think it's about that time that everybody just kind of realizes we need take it upon ourselves and will it to happen, make it happen instead of just expecting it to happen."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Longoria was back in the lineup at DH after getting Monday off as his legs felt heavy, and he said he expects to play the remaining 14 games; tonight he should be at 3B. … OF Sam Fuld remained inactive due to his moderate right hamstring strain, hopeful of getting back to action before the end of the season.

PRICE HONORED: LHP David Price was thrilled to be the Rays winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors players for charitable work.

Price, now among 30 candidates for the national award (voting on mlb.com/ClementeAward), formed the Project One Four foundation to work with children's programs in his native Tennessee and the Tampa Bay area, providing school supplies, winter clothes and funding for sports teams. "We just want to help as many kids as possible," Price said.

Price called the award "very prestigious" and personally significant, as he did a grade-school project on Clemente: "I admired the work he had done in the game of baseball and what he really stood for off the field."

COBB-MOLINA: RHP Alex Cobb maintained his innocence, while acknowledging video evidence looked otherwise, in the start of Monday's dugout altercation with C Jose Molina and said any specifics as to the cause would have to come from the veteran. "You're going to have to talk to him about that," Cobb said.

Molina declined comment Monday and did not make himself available to the media Tuesday. (He also did not join the team on the field for stretching or batting practice, though Maddon it said that was unrelated, and also not mandatory.)

Cobb said he had not talked to Molina on Tuesday and didn't plan to seek him out as he considered the incident to be over: "There's really nothing to say.''

Maddon also said it was a non-issue, that he felt no need to bring the two together to talk and that Molina would definitely catch Cobb again.

MISCELLANY: The Rays made three errors in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004. … The 21 players used were the Rays' most for a nine-inning game, the 4:09 matched their second-longest. … LHP Brett Blaise, a non-drafted member of the Gulf Coast League team, was suspended 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine, the fifth Rays minor-leaguer suspended in the past month. … The minor-league player and pitcher of the year will be announced today among other awards (some winner will sign autographs 5:45-6:30).

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