TB@BAL: Guyer discusses winning Game 1

BALTIMORE -- Brandon Guyer has always felt more comfortable when playing close to home at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But the three-double day for the Northern Virginia native was made even more special by the faces in the crowd during the Rays' 5-2 win against the Orioles in Game 1 of their doubleheader on Friday.

Of course he had friends and family there -- including his wife Lindsay Murphy, a reporter for WTTG in Washington -- but also Mathias Giordano, a 12-year-old cancer patient and Maryland native, who had to have his right leg amputated as part of his treatment.

"Lindsay was the speaker at a charity event [last year] and I went with her," Guyer said.

That's where he met Giordano. The outfielder tried to get Giordano out to a game last time Tampa Bay made the trip to Baltimore, but he was unable to go.

On Friday, Guyer gave his young friend a bat signed by the entire team and even promised him a hit. Instead, he delivered with three doubles and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Giordano.

"We made a point of it to invite him today or sometime this weekend," Guyer said. "I'm glad it worked out."

Hellickson's rehab likely still on track despite early exit

Hellickson on rehab progress, timetable for return

BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Hellickson's rehab hit a slight bump on Friday, but it doesn't seem like it will be enough to knock it off course.

The recovering starting pitcher threw 55 pitches in three innings for Triple-A Durham before being pulled with right elbow discomfort

"From what I understand, it was maybe an over-cautious kind of a situation just based on what had happened with him -- the surgery, et cetera," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Right now, I'm not getting any kind of highly negative reports."

The righty had arthroscopic elbow surgery in February and has not pitched in the Majors this season. He has struggled for Durham -- posting a 9.00 ERA in four starts -- but Friday was looking like one of his most promising outings. He eventually took the loss to fall to 0-4, but he allowed just one run in his three innings of work. The Bulls fell to to Indianapolis, 7-2.

Hellickson allowed five hits, one walk and struck out one batter before leaving the game. Tampa Bay doesn't anticipate that this will derail Hellickson's rehab schedule.

Escobar rests Game 1, available for nightcap

PIT@TB: Escobar makes the stop, starts a double play

BALTIMORE -- Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar wasn't available for Game 1 of Friday's split doubleheader, in which the Rays won, 5-2, and was out of the starting lineup for Game 2, but he was available as a pinch-hitter.

Escobar hasn't played since Tuesday as he deals with soreness in his right shoulder.

"He wanted to come out and play catch and see where it was at," Rays manager Joe Maddon said before the opener. "He just did not feel quite normal."

After Escobar played catch -- which he was doing as Maddon addressed the media in the dugout Friday morning -- he was going to be re-evaluated for a potential return later in the day.

The shortstop left Tuesday's loss to the Pirates for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning after tweaking his shoulder on a throw to first base, Maddon said.

Even if Escobar doesn't return for the nightcap, Maddon doesn't anticipate a stint on the disabled list being necessary. Maddon expects Escobar to see time in the field at some point during the weekend series with the O's.

"I'm not feeling that right now from the conversation," he said.

Otherwise, the manager said, the team is rested and healthy for the two games Friday. Thursday's off-day gave the bullpen time to rest, and catcher Ryan Hanigan, who was nursing a stiff neck, is scheduled to start the night game.

Maddon no fan of day-night doubleheader

Joe Maddon would rather play back-to-back games. (Getty Images)

BALTIMORE -- Rays manager Joe Maddon hasn't been shy about his thoughts about Friday's split doubleheader that required his team to be at Camden Yards early in the morning without a chance to leave until close to midnight.

"I'm not a big fan. I think it's too long of a day for everybody involved," he said. "I know there's a money component, whatever, but if you're going to play a doubleheader, play them one after the other."

But a day like Friday, with a day and night game, isn't the longest possible in baseball.

"Let's play three," Maddon said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Almost 35 years ago, when Maddon was a member of the 1980 Boulder Collegians of the National Baseball Congress, the Tampa Bay manager did.

The Collegians were scheduled to play three consecutive days of doubleheaders in Sturgis, S.D., when one of the first two days of games -- Maddon can't remember which -- was rained out.

"I thought they were going to play two doubleheaders," Maddon said.

Instead, general manager Bauldie Moschetti set up a tripleheader.

After making the drive from Boulder, Colo., to Sturgis in Moschetti's 1965 Pontiac with a bad muffler, it was time for three straight seven-inning games.

"By the time I got there, I thought we all got poisoned," Maddon said. "I had the worst headache of my life."

Maddon can't remember if he played at all in the first two games, but he knows he caught the third, and it was a busy day nonetheless. Maddon was a player-coach for Boulder that particular season.

"I caught the last game of the tripleheader," Maddon said. "We won all three games on that particular day."

Worth noting

• The Rays will hit the midpoint of their season after the first game of Friday's doubleheader. It will be Tampa Bay's worst first half since going 33-48 in 2007.

• The Rays might set the June strikeouts record Friday. The club entered the day with 243 for the month. The Major League record for June is 253. The Rays entered Friday 43 away from the record for any month, set by the Cubs with 286 in 2002.