05/17/11 11:09 PM ET
Shoppach's flyout upheld by instant replay
By Bill Chastain and Anthony Chiang / MLB.com
After taking a look at the instant replay for four minutes and two seconds, Shoppach was called out.
"[The ball] missed the catwalk," crew chief Gary Darling said. "It didn't hit anything. That's why we left it in play."
However, the ball seemed to deflect off something as Gardner shifted his running direction to catch it.
"It's hard to see sometimes," Gardner said. "I'm 99 percent sure it didn't hit anything. I lost it for a split second and I think when I lost it, I kept going and I overran it by a little bit. I think just me overrunning it by a little bit threw everybody off for a split second.
If a ball hits the B-ring catwalk, it is still in play. If a ball makes contact with the C-ring catwalk, it is a home run.
Rays manager Joe Maddon immediately rushed onto the field to urge Darling to review the play.
"When I went out there to talk to Gary, he couldn't tell either," Maddon said. "I knew it was a tough call, so I just asked him to check it out, and he said he would."
The controversial play marked the first time umpires have used instant replay at Tropicana Field this season.
Longoria holds yoga class for charity
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria began his workday Tuesday on his head.
The Rays third baseman conducted a one-hour yoga class before the game against the Yankees to raise money for the Moffitt Cancer Center.
Longoria started practicing yoga three years ago and started to take a bigger interest in it this past offseason. After thinking about a different way to garner money for a charity, yoga popped into his head.
"I had never really heard of somebody doing yoga for charity, so that was kind of what I put my finger on," he said.
Longoria raised $1,200 on Tuesday as 12 people attended the session for a $100 fee.
"Hopefully at the end of the year, we are going to try to organize something where we can have a little bigger space, and hopefully invite more people," he said.
Howell finishes rehab, set to rejoin Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- J.P. Howell threw 1 1/3 innings and allowed a run on two hits while striking out two in his last rehab appearance with the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Howell, who underwent left shoulder surgery last May, will join the the Rays on the upcoming road trip, and he didn't hide his excitement.
"It's a wrap! Over rehab [and] ready to play baseball," Howell said in a text message.
His return will add a much-needed left-hander to Tampa Bay's bullpen. Cesar Ramos is currently the only southpaw reliever on the team.
Howell racked up 17 saves to go along with a 2.84 ERA with the Rays in 2009.
Rays have tough road trip on the horizon
ST. PETERSBURG -- Over the next week, the Rays will travel up to Canada, back down to Florida and then to Detroit to close out a hectic eight-game road trip before arriving back in St. Petersburg.
This all adds up to about 5,178 miles in the air.
"I know [the travel schedule] is not theoretically perfect," manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't know why exactly that would be considered a good idea or how something like that makes it past the quality-control portion of the schedule-making process."
Maddon called Tampa Bay's next road trip one of the worst he has seen in his eight-year managerial career.
The Rays will start off in Toronto to take on the Blue Jays for two divisional games. Then Tampa Bay will head back down to its home state for a three-game Interleague series with the Marlins. Finally, Maddon's club will jet off to Michigan to square off against the Tigers for three games to end the trip.
"It's just strange how those things happen when you have so much time in advance to avoid certain things," Maddon said.
The last time the Rays traveled to Toronto in late April, the team had to wait an extra 45 minutes at the airport because third baseman Evan Longoria forgot his passport in his apartment. On Tuesday, he reassured everybody that he packed it this time.
But for a team that owns the best road record in Major League Baseball this season at 13-5, there is little concern regarding the long road ahead.
"It's definitely a little bit of a different road trip than you would imagine," Longoria said. "I think we pass over Tampa two or three times on the way back and forth. But we'll get used to it."
Maddon not surprised by Rays' early success
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays experienced a great deal of turnover to their roster prior to this season. Now that the team is a quarter of the way through the season, Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked if he was surprised at how the new additions to the team have performed.
"I really thought we would play well," Maddon said. "I think I've been saying that since Day 1. I didn't know how good of an outfielder Sam [Fuld] was until I saw him play. I know Joel Peralta. Kyle Farnsworth at the end of the game has probably exceeded what he did in the past. Obviously, that's true.
"As a group, [it's] not necessarily surprising, it's just nice to see it. Sometimes like I've talked about, it's just about opportunity. Some guys are getting opportunities and they're taking advantage of it."
Maddon cited how well Casey Kotchman and Fuld have performed while trying to fill big shoes left by the departures of Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford.
Sam Fuld, who hails from Durham, N.H., where everybody is a Red Sox fan, said his two-run homer Monday night against the Yankees was better received than when he homered against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 11.
"So many of my friends are Red Sox fans that I got a lot more positive feedback than I did [when I homered] against the Red Sox," Fuld said.
Fuld maintains a good sense of humor, even when the joke is directed toward his lack of size. B.J. Upton hung a pair of medium-sized boys baseball pants in Fuld's locker, which prompted nothing but smiles from the Rays left-fielder.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Anthony Chiang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.