Rays exhale amid whirlwind weekend

Rays exhale amid whirlwind weekend

ST. PETERSBURG -- A lot went down for the Rays on Saturday, which made for a lot to forget on Sunday.

For starters, the players had to endure the anxiety of waiting for the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline to pass. Additionally, they had a long list of concerns. They welcomed a new teammate in right-handed reliever Chad Qualls. They saw fellow reliever Grant Balfour land on the disabled list. They sat in the clubhouse prior to a 5-4 loss to the Yankees and watched MLB Network's Trade Deadline coverage, which featured their opponent this weekend -- and American League East rival -- grabbing one player after the next.

Hours later, the Rays lost on Robinson Cano's go-ahead homer in the ninth inning. They saw teammates Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena hobbled with nagging injuries. And, finally, they heard that Triple-A phenom Jeremy Hellickson will start Monday night's game against the Twins to give the rest of the starting rotation a much-needed break. The latter also means that a roster move will have to be made prior to Monday's game.

Baseball players are in the practice of putting the prior day's activities behind them and moving on to the next game. Sunday surely tested that practice given that there were so many things that needed to be put in the rearview mirror. Even Rays manager Joe Maddon conceded such days can test that mind-set.

However ...

"I get so locked in to what you're supposed to be doing that day and the process, it tests the fact that with Grant, it's such a fluke thing," said Maddon, noting that he would not have Balfour in the bullpen for a while. "If you want to lament something, just do that. But do it briefly, because it's not reality.

"I had to think last night about what we were going to do today against [CC] Sabathia minus two of our regular players -- with a guy [Sean Rodriguez] playing first base today that normally doesn't -- but I think it's going to be just fine.

"'How do you score enough runs to beat Sabathia today?' These are the things I'm thinking about. I wasn't locked in on, 'Balfour can't play today,' 'Pena can't play today' or 'Zobrist can't play.' It's, 'How do you beat them with what you have?' and that's how we are."

B.J. Upton said he had already forgotten about Saturday night's game and what transpired throughout the day.

"It was a weird day -- Trade Deadline and all of that," Upton said. "We played the Yankees a tight ballgame, and that's all you can ask. These games are going to be close. So whatever happened yesterday is in the past."

Despite the magnitude of everything that transpired on Saturday, Upton noted he'd already forgotten Saturday.

"They all run together for me," Upton said. "I'm pretty sure most of the guys in the clubhouse are like that, too."

Dan Wheeler called forgetting the prior day "a part of their jobs."

"It's almost like a bullpen guy," Wheeler said. "If I have a bad outing, I have to be able to come out the next day and put up a zero."

-- Bill Chastain