3B Evan Longoria did not play Tuesday for Triple-A Durham because his left hamstring was sore from playing back-to-back days. It was the second time during this latest minor league rehab assignment that Longoria sat because of soreness, and it will be a precaution that will be repeated when he rejoins the team.
"If we can get him back where he can play a couple, three days in a row and then we have to give him a day off, that would be fine," manager Joe Maddon said.
Longoria, who has basically missed three months since partially tearing his left hamstring April 30, is playing his way back into game shape like he would if these were the first days of spring training. His hamstring isn't the only area that is sore, but it is the one area that needs to be carefully monitored.
"I don't think it's bad, honestly," Maddon said. "Even if he were to come back here and be able to follow that routine, that's not so bad, either. I'm not anticipating him to be able to come back and play every day, even as a DH at the beginning."
The Bulls are off today, and Longoria is scheduled to return to their lineup Thursday, meaning a return for the Baltimore series, which begins Friday at Tropicana Field, is out. Maddon said it is possible Longoria returns for the Toronto series.
"That would be more realistic," Maddon said.
Maddon said a number of teams inquired about Rays players as Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline neared, but nothing lined up, so the Rays, as is their habit at this time of year, did not make a trade.
"I'm fine with that," Maddon said. "Actually, I'm very happy about that."
The Rays can acquire players in time for the Aug. 31 deadline to set playoff rosters, but those trades would be made difficult by the fact the player would have to clear waivers. The Rays are also viewing the return of Longoria, DH Luke Scott (oblique strain) and RHP Jeff Niemann (fractured right fibula) as the same as trade-deadline acquisitions.
RHP James Shields, whose name came up the most in trade rumors, could be dealt in the offseason when potential trade partners will include the teams who were not in contention and, therefore, not interested in adding players at the trade deadline.
Maddon said he has not backed off the preseason goal that the Rays can win the division and reach the World Series.
"I'm really happy nothing happened because I really believe in the guys that we have," he said.
INF Brooks Conrad was the odd man out and was optioned to Durham when the Rays decided to recall RHP Josh Lueke from Durham to add a fresh arm to the bullpen.
"It was nothing that Brooks has done," Maddon said. "We just needed the protection in the bullpen."
Conrad, claimed off waivers June 21 from Milwaukee, was 7-for-20 with a home run, three doubles and six RBIs in his first seven games, five starts. But he was 3-for-37 with 20 strikeouts since then.
Robin Friedman, wife of executive VP of baseball operations Andrew, gave birth Tuesday to the couple's second son. … On Monday, the Rays became the fourth team since 1919 to strike out more than 20 batters (they struck out a team-record 21) and walk at least 10 (three were intentional) in the same game. … Monday's game took franchise record 5 hours, 9 minutes to play. The 33 combined strikeouts were also a franchise record. … Former USF football standout Anthony Henry will throw out the first pitch before "USF Night" on Saturday.