ARLINGTON, Texas — Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria swears he is healthy, that his struggles at the plate this season are not physical and not from a lack of hard work or preparation.
“Everything's OK,” Longoria said before Monday's game against the Texas Rangers. “I wish I can say that. Unfortunately it's just not going the way that I planned. I wish I could say that it was something or another that would make it an easy cop-out to say, 'Oh yeah, this is wrong.' But the truth of the matter is I've been doing everything that I've done the past five, six years to make me successful and maybe at times even more and maybe put more pressure.”
Longoria took a .251 batting average with a .325 on-base percentage and a .390 slugging percentage into Monday's game. The Rays had two runners on base during each of Longoria's first three trips to the plate. He grounded into a force play his first time up, flied out to right during his second at-bat, then singled home a run his third time to the plate. He was thrown out trying to stretch that single into a double.
“We just got to get Longo back to normal,” manager Joe Maddon said before the game as he detailed how the Rays could make a run at a playoff spot. “The moment he starts rolling, man, heads up.”
Longoria said he hasn't looked at his stats in weeks, “because I know they're pretty bad,” he said.
As he said when the Rays returned from the All-Star break, Longoria will equate his success to the success of the team.
“My focus has to be putting what is important to the group in front of what I consider a personal success at the end of the year, numbers-wise,” he said. “And if we end up doing something special, whether it be to make the playoffs, or go on an incredible run here at the end and make it possible to have a chance at the end, I'd look at that as a success at the end of the year for me, because I don't always think it's going to be easy.”
RF Wil Myers (right wrist fracture) played right field and hit a grand slam Monday for Triple-A Durham during the second game of his minor-league rehab assignment.
OF David DeJesus (left hand fracture) will work out today with Class A Charlotte and Wednesday with the Gulf Coast League Rays, his first on-field activities.
C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) did rotational exercises Monday.
LHP Jake McGee was unavailable to pitch Sunday because of a bruised calf suffered Saturday when he was struck by a comebacker. McGee still spent the game in the bullpen to make the Cubs think he could pitch.
But McGee didn't bring his glove to the bullpen.
“There was no reason to,” he said.
So he first borrowed the glove of LHP Cesar Ramos when he stood in front of the bullpen to protect bullpen catcher Scott Cursi from a foul ball. And when Ramos was warming up, McGee used bullpen coach Stan Boroski's catcher's mitt, even thought it is right-handed.
McGee, who said his calf felt well enough for him to pitch Monday, said he would not have pitched Sunday no matter how many innings the Rays and Cubs played.
“I don't think so,” McGee said. “It was a little hard to walk, so I don't think I would have been too effective.”
Maddon said Sunday that Jose Molina would catch LHP Drew Smyly on Monday but changed his mind and started Curt Casali. Maddon wants Molina to catch RHP Jeremy Hellickson and RHP Jake Odorizzi during this series. ... The Rays tied a major-league record with 44 strikeouts during the three-game series with the Cubs. ... The Rays announced only a limited number of tickets are left for Saturday's game against the Yankees. ... Hellickson, tonight's starter, is looking for his first win against the Rangers in five starts, postseason included.