ST. PETERSBURG -- Saturday was a scheduled day off for SS Yunel Escobar and a not a reaction to his making three throwing errors in the two prior games.
“I’ve been wanting to give him a day for a couple of days,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It has nothing to do with him making a mistake (Friday), I just wanted to give him a day off.”
Escobar has 15 errors this season after committing seven last season.
Escobar, speaking through an interpreter before the game, said his arm is fine and his fielding slump is just part of the game.
Escobar also denied the sloppy defense this week has roots in the news last Sunday that he was placed on waivers and claimed by the A’s. He said it affected him at first because he wants to remain with the Rays, but that he got over it.
Maddon knew Escobar was upset when the news broke after Sunday’s game in Toronto. Because Escobar is an emotional player, Maddon felt the need to talk to him before Monday’s game in Baltimore to explain the waiver process and to tell him he was not getting traded.
Maddon said at the time it might take a couple of days for it to “sink in” with Escobar.
When asked Saturday if that can still be an issue with his shortstop, Maddon said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. He’s not really presented that way to me at all. Conversationally, everything’s been the same. There’s been no anything different. I’m not telling you that it isn’t. I don’t know that. But I don’t know that it is either, a residual effect.”
CF Desmond Jennings missed his second straight game with a bruised left knee.
Maddon said an MRI did not show anything more than the bruise and he said Jennings could be back in the lineup today.
“The fact he’s been cleared medically it’s just how much he can tolerate,” Maddon said.
Turnabout is OK with Maddon
Red Sox RF Daniel Nava stole third base during the seventh inning Friday with his team up 8-3 and it did not cause a stir with the Rays.
“Only that they were beating us and we couldn’t catch up,” Maddon said. “The object of the game is to score runs.”
On May 25, Escobar stole third base in the seventh inning with the Rays up 8-3 and it caused a pushing and shoving match between the two teams when former Red Sox RHP John Lackey and former LF Jonny Gomes objected to Escobar’s violation of one of baseball’s unwritten rules.
“I respect the fact that they did that,” Maddon said. “I have no problem with them doing that. If they do that it’s our fault for not defending it properly. It’s not their fault for taking advantage of us, ever. If somebody blows us out and they continue to score runs, it’s our fault. That’s how I look at it. I never feel embarrassed by the other team. I only feel embarrassed by ourselves.”
While Maddon is looking to give days off to his players, he said 3B Evan Longoria could play all 162 games this season.
“I have no problem with that. None at all,” Maddon said. “Right now he’s swinging the bat as good as he has, so it might be catching a nice ride right how.”
LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) begins his second week of sock-tossing today. He is scheduled to start his throwing program early when that is completed ... Maddon liked how RHP Grant Balfour was aggressive with his fastball during his two innings in Friday’s loss ... The annual Mystery Ball even Saturday by the Rays Wives to benefit All Children’s Hospital was a sellout. The even has raised more than $100,000 during its four years ... Saturday’s game was delayed 12 minutes when a bank of lights went out after a lightning strike at the 16th Street Substation.