BALTIMORE – Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke with SS Yunel Escobar this afternoon to let Escobar know how the waiver process worked and to alleviate any fear Escobar had of being traded to the A’s.
The A’s claimed Escobar off waives yesterday and had until 1 p.m. Tuesday to work a trade with the Rays. Maddon said Escobar will not be traded.
Maddon said he could tell Escobar was worried about being traded, and Maddon felt he needed to calm his emotional shortstop.
Maddon also said he submitted his side of the story this afternoon regarding his decision to protest Saturday’s loss in Toronto to MLB. Maddon said he’s confident his protest will be upheld but said he did not know the time frame for the decision.
C Ryan Hanigan could return to the team as early as Tuesday, Maddon said. OF David DeJesus will likely return after the rosters are expanded on Sept. 1.
Maddon said he told CF Desmond Jennings after Sunday’s game that he would have tonight off. So, when RF Kevin Kiermaier showed up this afternoon with a stiff neck suffered Sunday when he slid head-first into Jays SS Jose Reyes, Maddon decided to stick with his plan of giving Jennings a night off.
That’s how UTL Ben Zobrist ended up in center field, starting there for the first time since the 2010 season. RF Wil Myers, who has 10 strikeouts – nine looking – since he return to the lineup last week, will make his first post-injury start in right field. Maddon is hoping that might help Myers come out of his slump.
With fly ball pitcher Jake Odorizzi starting tonight, Maddon decided to give 3B Evan Longoria half-day off and will use him as the DH.
The Rays begin the night 10 games behind the AL East leading Orioles. They are 7.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card spot. Zobrist called this four-game series a “must win” series.
Here are the lineups:
Odorizzi RHP (9-10, 3.83)
Tillman RHP (10-5, 3.55)