09/20/12 1:39 AM ET
Longoria grants 13-year-old's wish
By Bill Chastain and Greg Zeck / MLB.com
Actis, a 13-year-old Rays fan, took a trip to Tropicana Field on Wednesday in a limo and met Longoria in the clubhouse prior to Tampa Bay's game against Boston.
The Meadowlawn Middle School student is undergoing treatment for renal cell cancer and was able to play video games, trade gifts and get together with Longoria for more than an hour as part of his Children's Dream Fund visit.
Longoria introduced Actis to teammates Jeff Niemann, Alex Cobb and Sam Fuld as well.
As Actis watched batting practice, he received an engraved bat and Rays jersey before staying for the game against the Red Sox.
Two-error games puts Rodriguez in rare company
ST. PETERSBURG -- Infielder Sean Rodriguez achieved a feat he'd rather not be associated with.
Rodriguez committed two errors in each of his last two games to become the first American League player since the Tigers' Carlos Guillen turned the trick April 18-19, 2006.
Rodriguez's first two errors came in Monday's game against the Red Sox despite playing just two innings in the field. He followed it up Tuesday with a bad throw in the third and another in the sixth that cost Tampa Bay a run.
After it was all said and done, Rodriguez had been charged with four errors in the span of eight innings over two days.
Manager Joe Maddon said after Tuesday's game that he doesn't believe the broken right hand that sidelined Rodriguez is affecting his defense.
"I honestly don't think so," Maddon said. "Talking to [third-base coach Tom Foley] in the pregame [meeting], he's done well, he's done fine. He hasn't played in a while, that part is defendable, but those are plays that he normally makes.
"I think he's fine, his throwing arm is fine, his hand is fine. He's gone through everything for days. His hitting should be more impacted than his fielding because he's been taking ground balls, he's been throwing."
With the recent string of poor play defensively, Rodriguez has a team-leading 18 errors in 135 games. His fielding percentage also dipped to .953, the lowest mark for players who have started at least 40 games.
Third base has been particularly problematic for Rodriguez, who has just an .894 fielding percentage and 11 errors at the hot corner.
Evan Longoria was back in the lineup at third for Wednesday's game.
Maddon: Shelton not to blame for struggling offense
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' offense has struggled this season, so naturally everybody looks for somebody to blame, and hitting coach Derek Shelton has taken the brunt of the finger pointing from fans and the media.
However, manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe Shelton is at fault for the team's struggling offense.
"I don't believe [the offense] is a reflection [of Shelton], I really don't," Maddon said. "I know what he does, I know how he does it. You watch the games being played, and the thing about coaches, it's about how diligent you are and the time you put in -- that you care. You can only give a player so much information.
"I believe when guys are successful consistently, a coach might be able to tweak you a little bit here or there and remind you about something, but what goes on internally is what really controls your success. And so, it's hard to pin that on a coach, and I really believe that."
When Maddon was asked if he expected Shelton back next season, Maddon replied: "We're talking."
"I mean, I'm not going there right now," Maddon said. "We'll be talking to all of our coaches at the end of the season."
Price, Rodney putting up award-worthy numbers
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starters and relievers have dominated throughout 2012, leading the American League in ERA, opponents' batting average and strikeouts.
Leading the way all year long has been lefty David Price and reliever Fernando Rodney, both of whom have put up AL Cy Young Award-worthy numbers.
Price leads all Major League qualifiers with his 2.54 ERA and sits sixth in the AL in strikeouts. Rodney, meanwhile, leads all relievers with at least 50 innings with his 0.66 ERA and also boasts a strong 68 strikeouts in 69 innings.
If the duo can continue to lead the Majors, they would join just two other sets of teammates to achieve the feat in the last 50 years, joining Johan Santana and Dennys Reyes of the 2006 Twins, and Sandy Koufax and Bob Miller of the 1963 Dodgers.
Their success has Cy Young chatter building for each of them, and manager Joe Maddon doesn't believe that being teammates will hurt either of their chances.
"I think if they were both starters it could be, it possibly could be somewhat of a detriment," Maddon said. "But the fact that Fernando is relieving and David is starting, I think really separates them, just like it separates their role on the field. I think they'll be viewed differently because of that."
Who has the edge in Maddon's mind?
"I do believe that being a relief pitcher, Fernando is at a disadvantage just based on the way things are done today," Maddon said, "but I nevertheless believe he should be strongly considered in the voting. But I do believe that a starting pitcher should have an edge in today's baseball world."
Price will aim for his 19th win when he faces the Red Sox in Thursday's series finale. He'll have two other starts beyond that to try and reach the 20-win plateau.
Rodney, meanwhile, already has a career-high 43 saves and is just one shy of Jim Johnson's Major League lead. If Rodney can get two more saves, he would tie Rafael Soriano's club record of 45 in 2010.
Glaesmann, Archer honored by Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- On Wednesday, Chris Archer was named the Rays' Minor League Pitcher of the Year and outfielder Todd Glaesmann was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.
The Rays also announced a Most Valuable Player for each of their nine affiliates, as well as organization-wide awards for best baserunner, best defensive player and best relief pitcher.
This year's winners were honored during an awards ceremony prior to Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox.
Archer, 24, posted a 3.66 ERA in 25 starts for Triple-A Durham. He led the International League and all Rays Minor League hurlers with 139 strikeouts.
Acquired as part of the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs, Archer has compiled a 3.89 ERA with 269 strikeouts over two seasons in the Rays' farm system. He has served two stints in the Major Leagues this year, pitching to a 3.22 ERA with 28 strikeouts in four appearances (three starts).
"Chris turned his season around," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "He got an opportunity to go to the big leagues, threw two wonderful games. I think he took those lessons up here down to Triple-A, and when he got back he really finished up strong. They say it's not how you start, it's how you finish. To see how he was last year in Double-A Montgomery, and then where he is now, he's on the verge of making an impact in the big leagues."
Glaesmann led all Rays farmhands with 21 home runs in 127 games between Bowling Green and Charlotte. The third-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft entered the season with only eight homers over his previous three seasons combined.
The 21-year-old hit .293 from May to July with Bowling Green and ranked tied for second with 165 total bases and was tied for third with 13 home runs in the Midwest League before being promoted on July 24.
After injuries limited his 2011 season, Glaesmann combined to hit .285 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs between two levels this season.
"This year was the first year I stayed healthy, and I think that had a lot to do with it," Glaesmann said.
The following players were named Most Valuable Player for their respective Minor League teams: Leslie Anderson (Triple-A Durham); Alex Colome (Double-A Montgomery); Derek Dietrich (Class A Charlotte); Drew Vettleson (Class A Bowling Green); Jeff Ames, (Class A Hudson Valley); Blake Snell (Advanced Rookie League); Ben Kline (Gulf Coast Rookie League); Alexander Simon (Dominican Summer League); and Jose Paez (Venezuelan Summer League).
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was named best defensive Player, while shortstop Hak-Ju Lee was named the organization's best baserunner and right-hander Chris Rearick was named best relief pitcher.
In addition, right-hander Joe Cruz was named the winner of the 2012 Erik Walker Community Champion Award. The award annually recognizes one of the organization's Minor League player who exemplifies teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement, attributes exhibited by Rays Minor League pitcher Erik Walker, who died tragically in October 2006 in a canoeing accident.
Lukevics called all of the award winners "a very well-deserving crew."
"All of our staff, player development, scouting, front office, baseball operations has a say in the vote," Lukevics said. "[When you are one of the winners], that's saying something. You stand out among your peers. We all know important that is."
Maddon said Sam Fuld, who is dealing with a right hamstring strain, continues to be day to day.
Through the Rays' last six regular-season games from Sept. 21- Oct. 3, the Rays Baseball Foundation and the Florida Lodging Association's Educational Foundation will work together for the annual "Shirts Off Our Backs" fundraiser, benefiting youth and education programs.
Fans who donate receive scratch-off cards that can win Rays game-worn jerseys and 2013 game tickets among more than $250,000 worth of other prizes.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.