Rays take notice as rival improves

Rays take notice as rival improves

KANSAS CITY -- The Rays are starting to take even more notice of the third-place Yankees, who are three games back entering Saturday and just traded for a player who was on Tampa Bay's radar.

The Yankees got Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte from the Pirates for four Minor Leaguers on Friday. Nady is a right-handed-hitting outfielder, a commodity for which the Rays had been searching.

"It doesn't surprise me," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's the way they do things. They're going to buy people at the appropriate time."

The Yankees also reportedly have interest in the Mariners' Jarrod Washburn, who would make stronger a rotation that already includes Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina.

"I have a lot of respect for Wash," Maddon said. "He is not intimidated by the big moment so he fits right in there. Of course it would make them better. They've got even more experience among their pitchers if that would happen. Nady is just a good player, regardless of how they choose to use him."

Maddon said on Friday that he'd like to see Tampa Bay get a productive right-handed bat. Now that Nady and Casey Blake, who was traded from the Indians to the Dodgers, are off the market, the list of options is getting smaller.

"Obviously, those are two good names if we are in search of right-handed batters," Maddon said. "But we still have good ideas."

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.