7/22/2013 7:45 P.M. ET
Escobar back in lineup; Myers available off bench
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BOSTON -- After missing the first three games after the All-Star break with a mild strain of his right hamstring, Yunel Escobar was back in the lineup for Monday night's series opener against the Red Sox.
"Escobar was adamant that he felt fine to play tonight," said manager Joe Maddon, who noted that Escobar was put through plenty of tests on Sunday and Monday to ensure that he indeed was ready to go.
Meanwhile, Wil Myers, who missed Sunday's game because of a sore wrist, did not start on Monday night, though he was available off the bench.
"Wil ... felt a lot better," Maddon said. "I still wanted to see one more day of that. He's definitely ready to pinch-hit tonight. I felt more comfortable with one more day. He's good. He's made progress. But I thought that was the prudent thing to do tonight, utilize him off the bench."
When asked about his situation, Myers said his wrist felt "a lot better than yesterday."
"Feels about 100 percent," he added. "I think it was just one of those things where they wanted to give me an extra day just to be sure. I'm available to come into the game at any time today."
Myers hurt the wrist while sleeping and irritated the problem further when sliding during the Rays' recent series against the Twins.
"I think, honestly, I slept on it wrong," he said. "I don't really know what happened. It was kind of a strange thing."
Despite milestone, Longoria surprised by homers
BOSTON -- Evan Longoria's home run off the Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey on Sunday gave him 20 on the season and 150 for his career.
Longoria now has five 20-homer seasons in his first six years in the Major Leagues, which makes him just the sixth third baseman all time to record that many this quickly.
The others who turned the trick are Bob Horner, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews, Scott Rolen and Jim Ray Hart.
Yet Longoria doesn't see himself as a home run hitter.
"Sometimes it's kind of baffling to me that I hit as many home runs as I do," Longoria said, "because I go into batting practice, and I don't hit any home runs. On a very rare basis, I may hit one or two, but I'm really one of those guys who needs the pitcher to supply the power.
"I definitely have the kind of swing where I have to be in a good rhythm and feel good at the plate to be able to hit home runs. I feel like there are some other guys, namely Chris Davis, who is just so strong that his swing may break down from time to time. But he hits some balls, and maybe mishits them, and hits the ball out of the ballpark. There's a lot of guys like that."
Many of Longoria's home runs have been to the opposite field this season, which he said is an indication of "when I'm at my best."
Maddon addresses Myers' impact on Rays
BOSTON -- The Rays have gone 22-8 since Wil Myers joined them on June 18 -- 20-8 when he's in the lineup -- and manager Joe Maddon was asked recently about Myers' impact on the team.
"Obviously, he's really contributed offensively," Maddon said. "But I think the residual effect is that he's had a great impact on our pitching."
Maddon smiled at his comment, since the Rays' pitching has been remarkable of late.
"Our pitching has been outstanding," he added. "So I think he's been able to supply that extra run now and then. ... For the most part, I think, his arrival here coincides with the pitching. Also, he has really contributed."
Maddon believes that Myers "lengthens" the lineup.
"Provides protection," he said. "There's no question about that. But primarily, I think it's us getting back to our roots. Pitching and catching the ball."
Myers deferred credit regarding his impact on the team.
"I just think it's the all-around team," Myers said. "I don't think it's just me at all. I know it's not just me. Our team's playing well. Everybody's getting along well. Our clubhouse is great. It's just, all in all, a good team effort."
When asked if he is pleased with his own play, Myers said he feels fine, but added, "There's still some adjustments I'm making here. But I feel good at the plate right now. ... I felt good before the break. I'm just getting better pitches to hit right now, and luckily, I'm putting good swings on them."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.