BALTIMORE – SS Yunel Escobar is not in the lineup for the fourth straight game because of soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder.
Escobar told Rays manager Joe Maddon he doesn’t think he will need to go on the disabled list, and Maddon still remains confident Escobar will return to the lineup early next week.
But, Maddon added, “I want to figure something out tomorrow.”
The Rays have been playing a man short since Escobar injured the shoulder making a throw to first base during the eighth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Pirates.
3B Evan Longoria will serve as the designated hitter tonight. With fly ball pitcher LHP Erik Bedard starting for the Rays, Maddon figured this would be a good day to get Longoria off his feet while keeping his bat in the lineup.
The Rays return to Camden Yards for a late-afternoon (4:05 p.m.) start against the Orioles. The two teams split a day/night doubleheader Friday.
Rays pitchers struck out 16 batters in the two games Friday to give them 259 for the month. That’s the most strikeouts in the month of June by a major league team. The previous record was 253 by the 1964 Indians.
The Rays need 28 more strikeouts during the final three games to set the record for the most strikeouts in any month. The 2002 Cubs currently hold that mark with 286 batters fanned in August of that season.
Also, Rays in-game host Rusty Kath has been selected to be the in-game host for the June 15 All-Star Game in Minneapolis.
Here are the lineups:
Bedard LHP (3-5, 4.25)
Chen LHP (7-2, 3.84)