8/11/2013 8:52 P.M. ET
Maddon bats Hellickson eighth vs. Dodgers
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Once Sunday's batting order had been posted in the clubhouse, the word spread quickly that starter Jeremy Hellickson was batting eighth, rather than ninth, where the pitcher is normally relegated.
Matt Moore observed of Hellickson, who entered Sunday's game hitting .500: "I thought he'd be hitting higher."
Jason Bourgeois had the distinction of hitting in the ninth spot behind the pitcher. Of course, Bourgeois needed to be reminded of his placement, so Hellickson yelled across the clubhouse, "You better be ready for some RBI chances."
Hellickson batting in the eight-hole marked the second time a Rays starting pitcher has batted anywhere other than ninth. The other time came on May 17, 2009, against the Indians at Tropicana Field.
Andy Sonnanstine started that game and batted third thanks to a lineup snafu that listed two third basemen (Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist), which resulted in the Rays losing their designated hitter and forcing Longoria from the game.
Sonnanstine doubled in his third at-bat. It was the first time a pitcher was in the starting lineup of an American League home game since Ken Brett batted eighth on Sept. 23, 1976, while with the White Sox.
Manager Joe Maddon talked with former Major League manager Tony La Russa about the pros and cons of putting a pitcher in the eighth spot. He then explained that a major factor behind his decision was having Wil Myers hit second. Thus, the second time through the lineup, Bourgeois would be like a leadoff hitter, with Sean Rodriguez, who led off Sunday's game, being more like a No. 2 hitter, and Myers at No. 3. Meanwhile, Myers got protection from Longoria, who was in the third spot, with Zobrist hitting cleanup.
"Gives [Myers] a much better chance of having people on base," Maddon said. "And the other part is, when you're putting your pitcher in the eight-hole, you get a chance to make a decision sooner if you need to pinch-hit for this guy or move it along at this particular juncture.
"If David Price is pitching, you normally bet on him pitching later into the game. You'd rather him hit ninth. It gives you another at-bat to possibly leave him in longer. Based on the recent past with Helly, he's been struggling a bit. I wanted to leave that option open."
Maddon did not think Myers would get anything to hit if he did not bat second. He added that all the right reasons had to be present for him to make this radical move with his lineup.
"Helly has not been pitching deeply into games," Maddon said. "I want Myers in the two-hole to be protected and pitched to more often. Thus you want more people feeding into him as opposed to [having the pitcher hit, then the leadoff hitter, followed by Myers]. All those things were present tonight."
Maddon said that the experiment also gives the Rays a chance to see how such an arrangement works.
"If you happen to get into the World Series, is that something you'd like to utilize, and why?" Maddon said. "I think there are definitely reasons to do it in the National League setting."
Moore throws off mound with encouraging results
LOS ANGELES -- Matt Moore threw off a mound on Sunday for the first time since going on the disabled list on July 31 with soreness in his left elbow.
"I threw 50 pitches with just as much effort as I do in my normal bullpens," Moore said.
Pitching coach Jim Hickey noted that Moore's velocity was almost at game speed and that he showed a "great curve."
"I couldn't imagine it feeling better based on how the last two weeks went," Moore said.
Moore will throw another bullpen session on Tuesday and could possibly be back in the rotation for next weekend's series against Oakland.
"That's in a perfect world, if everything goes well Tuesday and Wednesday," Moore said. "Still, [I] just [have to] continue with the same regimen as far as treatment goes. Today it was really just a great conditioning day for my shoulder, my lat, all the baseball-specific muscles. And I didn't feel like I got tired at the end of it. And it was a good workday."
Hickey noted that the training staff needs to weigh in on Moore's next move but added that a simulated game might not be necessary.
Pitching for the Rays next weekend "would not be any kind of surprise," Hickey said.
Veteran Farnsworth released by Rays
LOS ANGELES -- Tampa Bay released veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth on Sunday.
On Friday the Rays announced that Farnsworth had been designated for assignment, which meant they had 10 days to trade or release him. He is now free to sign with any interested team.
Farnsworth had 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA for the Rays in 2011, both career bests, but has mostly struggled since. He began last season on the disabled list with a strained right elbow and was relegated to middle relief when he returned, going 1-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 27 innings.
The Rays had trouble finding work for Farnsworth this season, and the 37-year-old right-hander was not very effective when called upon. In 29 2/3 innings over 39 appearances, he put together a 5.76 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, with only 19 strikeouts.
Farnsworth, who was signed for $1.25 million for 2013, would have been a free agent following the season.
Foley tossed for first time since 2003
LOS ANGELES -- Third-base coach Tom Foley was ejected in the sixth inning of Saturday's loss to the Dodgers.
After taking a called third strike for the third out in the top of the sixth, shortstop Yunel Escobar tossed his bat, helmet, protective pads and batting gloves with home-plate umpire Paul Nauert watching.
Foley sensed that the Escobar would soon be tossed and stepped into the fray.
"I just told him it was a bad call: 'You call one in the dirt and you called one on [James] Loney up and away,'" Foley said. "He said something, and I said [something]. And he said something again, and I said [something]. And he tossed me."
Foley did not know he had been ejected until he got to the water cooler and Evan Longoria asked who would be playing shortstop.
"Then Kelly Johnson goes, 'He threw you out,'" said Foley with a chuckle. "I was surprised I got tossed. But maybe he had enough."
It was Foley's first ejection since June 10, 2003, when Ed Rapuano did the deed in the fourth inning of the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Reds at Tropicana Field.
"Last time I got thrown out, Lou [Piniella] was managing, and he took his time getting out there," Foley said. "I finally ran out of things to do, and I kicked the bag, and he threw me out. I turned around, and there's Lou. I said, 'What took you so long?' And he said, 'Tommy, I can't get thrown out every night.'"
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.