ST. PETERSBURG — Rays third base coach Tom Foley said he will continue to wear Don Zimmer’s No. 66 jersey.
“The whole thing of wearing it is to just let him know we’re thinking about him every day,” Foley said.
Foley began wearing the jersey with MLB’s approval Friday night and said the response from Red Sox players and fans sitting behind third base was great.
“We had responses with people asking how he is and some people saying, ‘I didn’t know he was sick,’ ” Foley said. “It gets them thinking. Even if they just see the jersey out there — people in the stands — all of a sudden now they’re thinking about Zim.”
Zimmer is still recovering from April 16 heart surgery. Rays public relations director Rick Vaughn recentlyhung a “Zim” sign from the press box behind home plate and Rays players hung Zimmer’s jersey in the dugout on the last road trip.
Foley visited Zimmer last week.
“It was good to see him,” Foley said. “It was really good to see him.”
2B Ben Zobrist (dislocated left thumb) took on-field batting practice Saturday for the first time since he suffered the injury. He hit left-handed, which didn’t put as much pressure on the thumb as it would if he swung right-handed. He said the thumb felt fine and he is still expecting to rejoin the team Friday in Boston, the first day he is eligible to come off the DL.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) will throw another round of live batting practice this morning. If that goes well, he will throw two simulated games this week, then begin his minor-league rehab assignment. Hellickson’s rehab assignments will be similar to spring training.
Rest for Myers
RF Wil Myers, 2-for-26 over his previous seven games, did not start Saturday because manager Joe Maddon wanted to give him a rest.
“Wil is just a click off,” Maddon said.
Maddon said he also wanted to give OF Brandon Guyer a chance to start a game, and Guyer responded with a single and two doubles in his first three at-bats to key the Rays’ rally from a 5-0 first-inning deficit.
Myers worked with Foley and 1B coach George Hendrick before the game on his footwork around first base.
A lot of silence
The Rays played another four-plus hour game Saturday but at least they had an excuse — 15 innngs.
The Rays have averaged 3 hours, 18 minutes during nine-inning games — the longest in the majors and 16 minutes longer than the major-league average. Maddon is growing tired of all the talk concerning the length of games this season, particularly the ones involving his club.
“I’m the wrong guy to talk to about length of the game,” Maddon said. “I don’t know that the fans are really as annoyed as everybody thinks they are. I think they’re being taught to be annoyed by length of the game. … For me, I have no problem with the length of the game. None.”
Maddon compared a baseball game to good music, saying, “It’s the silence between the notes that creates the music.”
The Jesuit High baseball team, winners of the Class 5A state title, will be honored before today’s game. ... Since 2008, the Rays have 61 walk-off victories, one more than the Reds for most in the majors. ... Sean Rodriguez (Thursday) and Cole Figueroa (Friday) became the 12th and 13th different Rays with a walk-off hit since the start of 2013. ... Figueroa’s was the 14th pinch-hit walk-off hit in Rays history, and the first since James Loney did it Sept. 23, 2013, against the Orioles.