Notes: Maddon lobbies for Harris

Notes: Maddon lobbies for Harris

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Midsummer Classic is less than three weeks away, and the Devil Rays have several legitimate candidates.

Rays manager Joe Maddon recently was asked to weigh in on the subject of his potential All-Stars.

"Shieldsy [James Shields], I think Carl [Crawford] has to get some consideration," Maddon said. "B.J. [Upton], I thought was in the running; Aki [Akinori Iwamura], Carlos [Pena], Al Reyes."

And then there's shortstop Brendan Harris.

"Brendan, I would just like people to talk about," Maddon said. "Of course, the competition at that position is pretty severe, but what he's done has been exceptional."

Entering Friday night's game against the Dodgers, Harris was hitting .311 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs. Harris began the season as a utility man, starting just one of the team's first 11 games, but he has started 57 of the last 60 after winning the job from Ben Zobrist.

"You look at his overall play, there's a case to be made there," Maddon said. "Of course, the name isn't as glamorous, but he's been pretty darn good."

Back to '55: The Devil Rays and Dodgers will turn back the clock to 1955 on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

The Rays will don the St. Petersburg Saints uniforms of the Florida State League, while the Dodgers will sport the outfits of the World Series champion Brooklyn squad.

Crawford and Dodgers outfielder Luis Gonzalez donned the uniforms prior to Friday night's game to offer a preview of what was to come.

The first 15,000 fans will receive a Don Zimmer "Now and Then" bobblehead, presented by Regions Bank, featuring the Rays' senior baseball advisor in both his current Tampa Bay uniform and his Dodgers gear from 1955.

In addition, fans will have the chance to get autographs from former Dodgers greats Johnny Podres, Carl Erskine and Hall of Famer Duke Snider, as well as Zimmer, from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. ET.

Fans will also be treated to a postgame concert by oldies doo-wop group Sha Na Na.

Up and comers: Double-A Montgomery third baseman Evan Longoria and Triple-A Durham right-hander Jeff Niemann have been selected to play for the United States team in the All-Star Futures Game on July 8 at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

Longoria, the Rays' top pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .289 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs. Niemann, the Rays' top choice in 2004, is 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings.

Final count: Rays pitchers can walk with swelled chests given their performances with the bat during Interleague Play. Tampa Bay's hurlers went 8-for-22 (.364) with four RBIs this season. The eight hits are the most by an American League staff in Interleague Play. The four RBIs are more than four National League teams -- Marlins, Mets, Astros and Nationals. Rays pitchers had just six RBIs over their first nine seasons combined.

Rays signee: The Rays signed their No. 16 selection, right-hander Joshua Johnson, from Mississippi State. The Rays have now signed 18 picks, including 13 of their first 26.

Up next: The Rays will play the Dodgers in the second game of their three-game series on Saturday night in a 7:10 ET contest at Tropicana Field. Scott Kazmir will start for Tampa Bay, and he will be opposed by fellow left-hander Randy Wolf.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.