07/19/11 12:33 AM ET
Torres' tenure with Rays brief after relief outing
By Bill Chastain and Anthony Chiang / MLB.com
Tampa Bay paired that move with one that made room for Alex Cobb and recalled left-handed pitcher Alex Torres along with Cobb. To make room for the pair of hurlers, the Rays placed reliever Juan Cruz on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain and designated Adam Russell for assignment.
The Rays optioned Torres back down to Triple-A Durham following Monday's loss to the Yankees. A corresponding move will be made Tuesday.
Manager Joe Maddon explained the strategy by pointing out the 44 pitches Torres threw Monday.
"He's not going to be able to pitch for a couple of days, and we need another fresh arm up here [Tuesday] in case something were to happen," Maddon said. "It's one of those things where you have to manage your roster and move people around. Sixteen-inning games can do that to you."
The 23-year-old Venezuelan made his first Major League appearance Monday, taking the mound in the ninth inning, with the game knotted at 4.
It wasn't an easy spot for Torres with Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano due up for New York. Torres pitched the full inning, but walked Russell Martin with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run.
He allowed one hit and one runner to cross home plate in the frame, but walked three -- a problem he must fix before returning to the Majors.
"It's all about strike-throwing with him," Maddon said. "He just needs to get better command of his fastball."
Maddon made it clear that he was proud of the way Torres battled against some of the best hitters in Major League Baseball on Monday.
"I spoke to [Torres]," he said. "I really wanted him to understand how well he did do tonight. I would like to believe he knows now that he can pitch here. This guy has a great future with us."
One of the other moving parts included in Monday's move deals with Cruz, who said he felt his groin tighten while warming up in the bullpen before coming out onto the mound Sunday. But the right-hander opted to pitch because the team needed arms in the extra-innings contest.
"It's been a lingering kind of thing," said Joe Maddon about Cruz's injury. "That was three days in a row and he started to feel it, so we needed to do something there."
With Russell, it came down to a need for depth in the bullpen. Maddon said the Rays would love to bring Russell back if he is not claimed by another team.
Russell was 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 36 appearances for Tampa Bay this season. But he struggled with his control, walking 20 batters in 32.2. innings pitched.
"[Russell] was very pro about it," he said "We want him to continue to develop his delivery to make him more of a strike thrower. We love his stuff, but we need to get him more consistent in the strike zone."
Power outage causes delay at The Trop
ST. PETERSBURG -- Monday night's Rays-Yankees contest experienced an 18-minute delay due to a lightning strike that caused a bank of lights on the first-base side to lose power.
Robinson Cano was up to bat with two outs and two aboard in the fifth, when the lights went blank.
Tropicana Field did not go dark, but the dimness created prompted Ed Rapuano's umpiring crew to clear the field while they awaited the bank of lights to re-boot to full strength.
According to the information the Rays received from Progress Energy, lightning struck a bank line that goes to a substation that feeds Tropicana Field.
Progress Energy said the strike affected the service of approximately 400 customers.
Prior to resuming play, Rays starter Alex Cobb was afforded enough pitches to again get loose. Cano grounded out on the first pitch following the delay to end the inning.
Longoria refuses to make excuses in down year
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria doesn't want to make excuses.
There have been rumblings that an ongoing nerve issue in his left foot has been a driving force behind Longoria's disappointing season thus far. But the Rays third baseman rejects that theory.
"It just really affects the way I run and move," he said. "But it has actually gotten a lot better from this last shot. They are trying every course of action to see what's going to help it the most. It's not really affecting me too, too much."
But manager Joe Maddon believes that Longoria's injuries -- from the strained oblique to the foot issues -- are taking a toll on the three-time All Star.
"I honestly, truly, sincerely believe that all these [injuries] going on have contributed," Maddon said.
Entering Monday's game, Longoria was hitting .233, with 11 homers and 43 RBIs this season. He hit a two-run double in the first inning of Monday's game.
"I never look at my numbers, and that's being dead honest with you," he said. "Even if I was hitting .300, I might have an idea of where I'm at, but I never really physically look at my numbers."
Longoria's struggles haven't just been at the plate this year. He has also committed six errors to go along with a career-low .962 fielding percentage.
The concern is that Longoria's problems with the bat will translate into a desperate mindset and an impatient approach. His .317 on-base percentage is a sign of that. The lowest that number has ever been for Longoria was .343 in 2008 -- his rookie season.
"From a personal standpoint, I'm not where I would like to be, but we still have an opportunity to play in the postseason," he said. "My focus has to be winning every day and not what my numbers say."
For now, Longoria will continue to receive daily treatment on his foot, but the pain will likely continue to linger for the rest of the year.
"I really believe that a lot of guys would have begged out of the lineup by now," Maddon said. "He really, really refuses to do that. He's adamant that he wants to play."
Extent of Lobaton's injury not known to Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays placed catcher Jose Lobaton on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left knee after Sunday's game, but the severity of the injury is still unknown.
Lobaton has yet to undergo an X-ray or MRI, but the doctor told him the pain is deriving from his MCL. Although it is not believed to be a serious issue because Lobaton can bend his leg, he has trouble making any lateral movements.
Lobaton suffered the injured in the ninth inning of Sunday's game, when he went to block a slider from Kyle Farnsworth.
"I went down to block the ball and I felt something pop in my knee," he said.
The 26-year-old made his first start for the Rays on Sunday, going hitless in three-bats. He was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Friday.
To fill in for Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos was recalled from Durham following Sunday's game.
"It feels so bad," Lobaton said. "Right now, I feel sad. I think I did a pretty good job with [Jeff] Niemann, and I didn't want to go out. But some things are not in your hands."
Rays pitcher Wade Davis, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm, threw another bullpen session of about 50 to 60 pitches before Monday's game. He hopes to return to the mound for Tampa Bay on Saturday against the Royals, but Joe Maddon said that was unlikely.
Maddon said Matt Joyce's sore right knee is feeling better and added that Joyce is "definitely" available to pinch-hit Monday.
The average time of each game in Tampa Bay's three-game set against Boston was four hours and 17 minutes.
Left-handed pitcher Matt Moore, who is ranked as the second-best prospect in Tampa Bay's organization, was promoted from Double-A Montgomery to Triple-A Durham on Monday. He will start for the Bulls on Wednesday.
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.