It's a slow news day for all things Rays related so we're going to jump around to a few stories.
The biggest concern for everyone in the Bay area should be the health of Evan Longoria. He began his second rehab assignment last night, going 0-3 with a walk for the Durham Bulls. I couldn't find any reports or quotes on how he felt after the game. I'm hoping "good" is the main adjective that gets thrown around.
In this MLB.com piece Joe Maddon talks about how pleased he is with the defense of late.
"We've done better," Maddon said. "During the 10-game homestead, we did a lot of extra work defensively. Just basic fundamental stuff to try to cut down on the routine mistakes that we had been making, and to this point it has worked out pretty well."
The activation of Matt Joyce from the disabled list has played a part in that as well. It allows Zobrist to play second base full time, eliminating a replacement player from getting overexposed. The Rays now just have two positions that are in flux; third base and shortstop. The addition of Ryan Roberts should help shore up third, but some combination of Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson and Brooks Conrad will also rotate between the two positions. Sam Fuld being back, and his ability to play all three outfield positions, certainly doesn't hurt the defense either.
- Aroldis Chapman is ridiculous, and I mean that in the very best way possible. He has a negative FIP for July. You read that right. His current K/9 for July is 20.65. He's striking out nearly 50% of the batters he faces. Gross.
- Jeff Mathis pitched the other night for the second time this season. That's interesting because he is a catcher. He joined pretty select company in doing so.
- Johnny Cueto has been pretty amazing over his career as R.J. Anderson explains.