ST. PETERSBURG - The rat tail is not the reason behind DH Luke Scott's recent run of good fortune at the plate. If it was, he could be the 2013 version of the Rays hawk that swept the Bay area in 2008.
Scott said INF Ryan Roberts suggested he keep the tail when Scott decided recently to cut his mohawk.
"It's time to bring back the '80s rat tail," Scott said. "At least for me. I'll roll with it."
Scott, who said he last had a rat tail when he was 8, has been rolling at the plate, hitting .377/.421/.679 with two home runs, eight doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs in his 17 games prior to Monday. Then Scott started things Monday with a first-inning home run.
"He's been a lot better with his decision-making at the plate," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course he's been hitting the ball harder. I think those are tied together."
Scott's hot streak earned him a promotion Monday to second in the order, a spot he occupied just once before this season.
"This game is about feel," Scott said. "It's about getting into a rhythm where you feel you know where the barrel of the bat is and you're on time with everything."
Scott said he's not where he was at the start of the 2012 season when he was hitting home runs and driving in runs in bunches, but he said he's close.
"I think he's getting to that point again," Maddon said. "I'd like to see it stay, man, because he does impact the baseball. He puts the ball in the gap. He drives in runs. It's just about his patience. When he's patient at the plate and makes the pitcher come to him he hits the ball well."
Cobb eager for next step in recovery
RHP Alex Cobb, who threw his second bullpen session Monday, said he's ready for the next big step in his return from a concussion - facing hitters.
"There's no concern in my mind right now that I will be worried when I do face them, so I'd like to get out there as soon as possible," he said.
Cobb is expected to throw another bullpen Thursday. He said his arm feels fine and his vertigo is nearly gone.
"I'm pushing them to let me do it, trying to speed this process up as much as I can now that I feel good," he said of facing hitters. "Arm feels good, so I don't feel like there's any reason to baby the process now and go as quickly as I can."
Since he was originally expected to long toss at the start of this homestand, Cobb feels his two bullpen sessions have him ahead of schedule. As for a return to the rotation, Cobb said, "The timeline is getting shorter for me, and that's exciting. Hopefully early August, maybe end of this month would be a pretty nice expectation for myself."
All-Star game still possible for Moore?
Openings will be created on the American League All-Star team with three All-Star pitchers scheduled to start Sunday - Justin Verlander, Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma. That could open the door for LHP Matt Moore and his 12-3 record to make the squad.
"I have to believe Matt has a pretty good shot under those circumstances, and it would be great," Maddon said.
The Rays haven't set their post-All-Star break rotation other than LHP David Price pitching the first game.
Maddon said Moore working an inning in the All-Star game could alter their plans.
By the book
RHP Chris Archer, who faces the Twins tonight, said he is applying some of the things he's read about in Norman Vincent Peale's "You Can Win," into his pitching. Mostly, how to remain calm on the mound.
It helps that he is getting better at pitch selection and commanding those pitches, which he did in his last start when he threw his fastball, curveball and changeup for strikes.
"All three weapons were working and I was commanding, and that's another weapon in itself," he said.
RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) played catch Monday for the first time since he returned from his rehab assignment June 29 after aggravating the injury. He said he hopes to pitch in a minor league game next week. . Maddon said he has no plans to rest CF Desmond Jennings during this homestand. . Minor league RHP Taylor Guerrieri will not pitch in Sunday's All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field because the organization wants him to have extra rest during his first full season of pro baseball.