04/25/2013 8:15 PM ET
Gnome joins Rays' traveling party
By John Jackson / Special to MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Rays manager Joe Maddon has gained acclaim with an unconventional style, so it's only fitting that an unconventional promotion bearing his likeness is gaining attention.
For Wednesday night's game against the Yankees, the Rays gave away Joe Maddon gnomes to the first 10,000 fans at Tropicana Field. On Thursday, as the Rays opened a 10-game road trip against the White Sox, the gnomes were a hot item on eBay, with some listed for $55.
"Somebody sent me a message that there's a bunch of them on eBay, which is unbelievable, for some decent money," Maddon said. "Who's gonna pay that?"
The gnome features Maddon's likeness wearing a hoodie and a pointed gnome-style hat. Maddon got such a kick out of the promotion that he brought one on the trip, dubbing it "Joe Gnome."
"He's gonna have a chance to have a good road trip," Maddon said. "I'm not gonna judge him on one game or two games. We'll give him a whole body of work, let him go through the road trip, and see if he earns the right to be displayed."
Escobar's status likely to be determined Friday
CHICAGO -- Yunel Escobar, who sat out the Rays' game Thursday night against the White Sox with tightness in his right hamstring, is listed as day to day, but manager Joe Maddon said it won't be known until Friday how long the shortstop actually will be sidelined.
"I don't anticipate him being able to play [Friday]," Maddon said. "I anticipate knowing where we are at with him [Friday]. "We'll see how this will play out. I don't anticipate anything awful, but the guy does go pretty hard every day."
Escobar, who is batting just .164, was injured running the bases in the Rays' 3-0 win over the Yankees on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. He said he felt a "little pull," so he was removed from the game.
Ben Zobrist will fill in at shortstop until Escobar returns.
"Zo did a great job at the end of last year and [Wednesday] when it occurred didn't bat an eye," Maddon said. "[He] looked at the book a little bit, wanted to see where to play the next group of hitters, and everything was fine."
Maddon could have moved Sean Rodriguez back to shortstop but decided to keep him at first base.
"At the end of last season, we all thought Ben did a really good job and we wanted to stay with that," Maddon said. "Sean has been doing a nice job in the other role we have for him, so I don't want to mess things up right now."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.