We haven’t heard much about Evan Longoria since he felt some discomfort in his partially torn left hamstring last week and was pulled off his minor league rehab assignment. But that’s because there’s just not much to report.
Rays manager Joe Maddon broke the silence earlier this evening in some comments to Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, but he had little to offer regarding a potential timeline for his star third baseman’s return.
Yikes. Reading between the lines here, it’s fair to say his absence will stretch well into the second half.
Longoria has now been sidelined for almost exactly two months. The Rays are 25-27 during his absence and entered tonight’s action at 40-35 on the year, 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.