Evan Longoria said earlier this month on Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard Hot Clicks" podcast that he doesn't think it is fair that Alex Rodriguez should be allowed to play while he is appealing his suspension. ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO
ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria was one of several players to comment on the suspension of New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez and Rodriguez's subsequent appeal that allows him to play until an arbitrator can rule on his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Longoria said earlier this month on Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard Hot Clicks" podcast that he doesn't think it is fair that Rodriguez should be allowed to play, because his play will have an impact on the playoff race in the American League.
“ ... He can affect the game in a positive way, he can affect the game in a tremendous way, which is being in the lineup. In a pennant race, he's a guy you don't want in the lineup,” Longoria said.
On Wednesday, Longoria said he stood by those comments and didn't want to comment further other than to say Rodriguez's return to Tropicana Field tonight won't be an issue.
It was an issue Sunday in Boston when Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster administered what Rays manager Joe Maddon called “vigilante justice,” and hit Rodriguez with a pitch. Dempster received a five-game suspension for the move.
Longoria said he doesn't believe any of the Rays pitchers will follow Dempster's lead.
“If the question arose to me I would never say throw at him intentionally,” Longoria said. “First of all, I don't want to put a guy on base. I'd rather just try and get him out. I don't think it's the right thing to do. You don't want to get somebody hurt, whether it's him or somebody on our team if they decide to retaliate or it backfires. I think it's better to try and get him out.”
Maddon agreed, saying there is “absolutely zero reason” for Rays pitchers to take Rodriguez's appeal in their own hands.
“I'm not supposed to pass judgment or enact laws. It's not my job. My job is to run this team. Our pitchers' job is to try and get them out. Our hitters' job is to try and hit their (pitching),” Maddon said. “Don't attempt to be judge and jury. Just let everybody do their jobs.”
DeJesus on horizon?
The Rays are believed to be the team that put in a claim for Nationals OF David DeJesus, though executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman would not comment.
The Nationals have until this afternoon to work out a trade with the Rays or pull DeJesus off waivers.
DeJesus, traded to the Nationals earlier this week, is batting .248 this season with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 87 games. Nationals manager Davey Johnson told reporters that he will have a hard time finding playing time for DeJesus.
The Rays are looking to add depth as they prepare for a run at the postseason in September.
Here come those Yankees to the Trop
The Yankees have won five straight games since Rodriguez was drilled Sunday night by Dempster and are 31⁄2 games out of a wild-card spot.
“They're good,” Maddon said. “They got a good team. Look at their pitching. Their ERA is better than ours. They're good, I've said that from the beginning. They just got a lot of tribulations. They've got one going on now. I even thought the other night with the fiasco up there, I thought that could be a galvanizing moment for them also, you never know.”
Mystery Ball returns
On Saturday, the Rays' wives will hold their third annual Mystery Ball to benefit All Children's Hospital.
Wrapped baseballs autographed by Rays players and notable other major-leaguers such as Mariano Rivera, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw will go on sale for $40 at Gates 1 and 5 when gates open. There will also be a silent auction of game-used and one-of-a-kind Rays items.
From noon until 1 p.m. Saturday, OF Sam Fuld will sign autographs at Sweetbay Supermarket at 7491 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg.