Banged-up Rays could get rest after elimination

Banged-up Rays could get rest after elimination

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's postseason hopes were officially dashed after the A's beat the Rangers on Monday night, and manager Joe Maddon said he's already thought about lineup changes for the remaining games of the regular season.

Most notably, Maddon said he would discuss playing time with Evan Longoria, who is still dealing with a partially torn left hamstring, and if he wants to play in the final games of the year.

Maddon added that there would be a similar situation with catcher Jose Molina, who is day to day with a right quad strain.

"I've thought about talking to certain guys that are banged up," Maddon said. "That's my only thought."

Maddon said Rays players still have plenty to play for as both a team and individually.

Tampa Bay has already clinched a winning record for the fifth straight year, joining just the Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals to carry streaks that long. In that time, the club had 456 wins entering Monday, the third most behind New York and Philadelphia.

After their 5-3 victory over the Orioles on Monday night, the Rays need one more win to reach the 90-win milestone for the third straight year.

"[Winning] 90 games would at least be significant still from an organizational perspective as we continue to grow," Maddon said.

Fernando Rodney, meanwhile, is on the doorstep of the lowest single-season ERA by a reliever with a minimum of 50 appearances. He currently sits tied with Dennis Eckersley with a 0.61 mark.

"There's still something to be said down in the bullpen with Fernando and what he's approaching right now -- legendary status among bullpen pitchers," Maddon said.

Starter James Shields is also just 6 1/3 innings shy of 225 innings pitched, a feat he would accomplish for just the second time in his career with a solid start Tuesday.