TORONTO -- Ryan Roberts was earmarked as the player to be optioned back to Triple-A Durham to make room for James Loney's return from the paternity list, but that decision was not officially made until after Rays manager Joe Maddon and his coaching staff took a long look at shortstop Yunel Escobar working out on the field shortly before the start of Sunday's Rays-Blue Jays contest at Rogers Centre.
Escobar has not played since the All-Star break due to a mild right hamstring strain, so prior to sending Roberts down, Maddon and company wanted to make sure that the Rays did not have to put their starting shortstop on the disabled list.
After the workout, Escobar was pronounced fine. Maddon did not say he would start Monday in Boston, but he did allow that he would be ready.
Roberts started the first two games of the Toronto series, going 2-for-9 and notching the go-ahead RBI single in Friday night's win.
Maddon called Roberts' attitude "spectacular" and praised his work.
"I told him about it yesterday," Maddon said. "I've been really, really impressed with Ryan and how he's handled all of this. It's not like he's coming up here for his first salvo, he's been up here for long periods. He's a Major League veteran, who has had some very good years, so to handle it as well as he has, with the professionalism, as a person and a player. But also to perform like he has, it's been outstanding. We're really fortunate to have him."
Roberts was not available to the media following the decision, but he spoke Friday night about how getting "back on track" in regard to his religious faith helped him handle the many ups and downs of professional baseball.
"In the past, [going up and down from the Major Leagues to the Minor Leagues] might have been a little tougher than now," Roberts said. "Now, I take the good out of everything."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less