ST. PETERSBURG — With three starting pitchers on the disabled list, LHP Erik Bedard will become the seventh starter used by the Rays this season when he faces the New York Yankees tonight at Tropicana Field.
Some perspective: The Rays employed eight starters in 2011 and 2012.
“We’re looking for the opportunity to create a couple of more household names,’’ Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Bedard, 35, has been a semi-household name during his 11-year major-league career, finishing fifth in the 2007 American League Cy Young Award race (13-5, 3.16 ERA) with the Orioles and registering a 15-11 mark one season earlier.
“I guess it’s unfortunate the way it happened,’’ Bedard said of his ascension into Tampa Bay’s starting rotation. “You lost two really good starters (since the season began), but I’ll do the best I can to replace them.’’
Maddon said he believes Bedard could go six innings tonight. Bedard, who threw 60 pitches in his first start at Triple-A Durham, wasn’t sure and hadn’t yet talked about a potential pitch count with the Rays staff.
The non-Hit Show
Coming into Thursday night, the Rays had scored 14 runs in their last nine games, batting .191 in that span. It’s the lowest-scoring nine-game span for the franchise since 1998 (when the expansion Rays managed just nine runs in nine games from July 2-13, 1998).
“It’s easy to say we’re not getting the breaks and just chalk it up to that, but that’s kind of a cop-out,’’ Rays 3B Evan Longoria said. “At a certain point, you’ve got to make your own luck.
“Every one of us wants to go up there and get a hit every time. That’s obvious. But the more you start thinking about it, you go 0-for-4, before you look up and see where you’re at, you’re 0-for-12. … Instead of worrying about getting a hit every time, (it’s better) to worry about the process, how you go about your day, getting yourself ready for the game. That’s really at the forefront of my mind.’’
Jeter’s last go-round
Yankees SS Derek Jeter, playing his final year after 20 seasons in New York, received a standing ovation before his first-inning at-bat. The Yankees also will visit Tropicana Field on Aug. 15-17 and Sept. 15-17.
Jeter, who played his 245th career game against the Rays and is batting a career .306 against Tampa Bay, was paid the expected homage before the game by his opponents. Maddon said he believes Jeter should be the initial player to make the Baseball Hall of Fame with a first-ballot unanimous vote.
“I can’t even understand why he wouldn’t be,’’ Maddon said. “Based on his career, the number of championships that have been won, to be able to handle the moment as well as he has in that city, with that scrutiny, I don’t know what the negative is.’’
Odds and ends
It was the 10th pitching meeting between LHP David Price and Yankees LHP CC Sabathia. The Rays had won eight of the previous nine matchups. … Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, on the disabled list since April 5 with a right adductor muscle strain, expects to play in Sunday’s game. He struck out and walked twice in Thursday’s extended spring-training game at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa. … Yankees middle infielder Scott Sizemore, a right-handed batter with Price on the mound, got his first start at first base — ever. He signed with the Yankees on Tuesday. … Even during their recent slide, the Rays have held a share of first place in the AL East for eight of the past 14 days, perhaps a reflection of the division’s mediocre start.