Sternberg: Rays unlikely to be active at deadline

Stuart Sternberg
Stuart Sternberg
Published July 24, 2013

BOSTON — The Rays are typically not big players at the July 31 deadline for nonwaiver trades. And because they are playing so well overall, principal owner Stuart Sternberg indicated they are even less likely to make any kind of deal — at least one that affects the current squad.

"Because we've got players playing at the level that they are at all the positions on the field right now and in the bullpen and in the starting rotation, there's no glaring place to be doing anything," Sternberg said Tuesday. "So while that's a great thing, it also doesn't, unfortunately, present a lot of opportunities."

Not that Rays officials won't still do lots of talking over the next eight days.

"Unquestionably we will do what we can to make the team at least as good if not better this year, and anything we can do to make the team better in years to come is always on our minds," Sternberg said.

"Things happen between now and (July 31). I don't anticipate us doing anything that's going to weaken the team this year, so getting past that, can we do things that will strengthen us this year and even as importantly, if not more so, strengthen us in the future."

CATCHER SUSPENDED: Mark Thomas, who has been considered the organization's most advanced catching prospect, was suspended 50 games by MLB for "a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse."

Thomas, 25, has been playing for Double-A Montgomery, though hitting only .151 in 53 games with four homers and 23 RBIs.

"It's really unfortunate. They have these random drug tests in place and you would hope it would deter players whether it's PEDs or recreational drugs, but they're kids," Biscuits manager Billy Gardner Jr. told Stacy Long of the Montgomery Advertiser.

"Sometimes, they make poor decisions and, when they make bad choices, they have to own up to them. I think Mark did that. He didn't make any excuses. He was very disappointed and felt he let himself and his family down."

Thomas is the 12th Rays minor-leaguer suspended for drug-related reasons since the start of the 2012 season, more than any other team.

MORE MOORE: LHP Matt Moore's two-hit shutout Monday was memorable in many ways.

Statistically, it was only the ninth time ever a lefty shut out the Red Sox at Fenway on two hits or fewer and just the 66th time — and second in the past 17 years — a lefty threw a complete game shutout in the 102-year history of the park.

Personally to Moore, it was an important first. "It's definitely been something that's been on a to-do list for me for a long time. I'd been talking about it. (Monday) night, it was very special to do it on the road against this team. They're obviously the best record in baseball and a very tough lineup."

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And psychologically, there could be a boost going forward. "At this particular moment, the All-Star experience, the complete game situation, here's a lefty in this yard doing that kind of stuff, it definitely does something for his psyche," manager Joe Maddon said.

PRIME TIME: The Aug. 11 game at Dodger Stadium has been picked for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

MISCELLANY: 1B James Loney logged his 1,000th career hit, the third to do so in a Rays uniform, joining Carl Crawford and Carlos Peña. … OF Wil Myers returned to the lineup after sitting out two games with a sore left wrist and looked healed with a homer and a double. … An eighth-inning throwing error charged to Yunel Escobar ended his team-record streak of 53 error-less games at short. … The Rays struck out 13 times. … Monday's game drew a season-high 8.8 rating, peaking at 10.8, on Sun Sports and was top-rated of all shows in the Tampa Bay market.