Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays not baring it all for TV cameras

ANAHEIM, Calif. — It's not quite an all-access shocker such as HBO's Hard Knocks or Showtime's The Franchise, but the Rays and Angels are being filmed this weekend for an episode of the behind-the-scenes TV show Caught Looking.

The Rays are cooperating to a degree, manager Joe Maddon said Thursday, but they are not offering unfettered access.

"They're not going to see our secrets. All the esoteric stuff will remain such," Maddon said. "We don't unfetter for anybody."

The show will showcase different teams in the postseason race, with camera crews from MLB Productions shooting scenes before, during and after games. They also planned to follow Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist for some off-field activities.

"They'll be privy to lively conversations, I believe, more than anything," Maddon said.

The Rays-Angels episode will air 9 p.m. Aug. 23 on the NBC Sports Network.

RHP James Shields said they welcome the exposure.

"It's good to have people really realize what we're all about," he said. "I think people will really find out how fun we are, how relaxed we are when we play and how much we really get along with each other."

SHIELDS UP: Shields has been doing a lot of things well in running off three straight solid starts. But he will take the mound tonight knowing he has little margin for error in facing Angels ace Jered Weaver, who is 15-2 and leads the majors with a 2.22 ERA.

"Jered, he's pretty good," Shields said. "I know it's going to be a battle. They've got a pretty good lineup over there as well. If I can just minimize my mistakes and try to go deep in the game and get a win for us, that's going to be huge."

HOME BOY: Evan Longoria was happy just to be in the starting lineup, for the first time since 2010, at Angel Stadium, a short drive from where he grew up. Even better, to continue his tremendous success on his hometown turf, with dozens of friends and relatives in the stands.

With a home run, his first since before his April 30 hamstring injury, and a single, he is now hitting .431 (22-for-51) with five homers, 13 runs and 15 RBIs in 14 games in Anaheim.

"I was thinking about it before the game, it's kind of been a while since I hit a home run,'' Longoria said. "Historically this has been a good place for me to hit. I've been contributing kind of like I wanted to over the past 6-7 games, so regardless of the home run or not we've been winning ballgames. But it did feel good to finally hit one over the fence and be able to trot around, especially in front of my family. Everybody's here, and that makes it that much more special. So it was a good day.''

Longoria tested the hamstring a bit going first to third on Zobrist's fourth-inning double - though at a throttled pace - and said it felt good afterward.

REHAB REPORT: Luke Scott was "fine" after playing seven innings at first base Wednesday, and then went 0-for-3 with two walks as the DH on Thursday for advanced Class A Charlotte as he continues his rehab from an oblique strain. Scott, 4-for-19 in five games, is playing first again tonight and is likely to rejoin the Rays on Monday or Tuesday. … RHP Jeff Niemann is set to start for Triple-A Durham on Sunday, the third of his four scheduled appearances in completing his rehab from a mid-May broken leg.

MISCELLANY: The Rays are 5-2 on the 10-game, three-city trip. ... The shutout was their 12th overall, and fourth against the Angels. ... Maddon and C Jose Molina will be part of Saturday's pregame ceremonies honoring the Angels' 2002 World Series championship team. … LHP J.P. Howell went into Thursday's game with a team relief-record 22 2/3 inning scoreless streak.

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