ST. PETERSBURG -- Defense has been a sore subject for the Rays for most of the season, but since the beginning of the second half, the Rays have been better with the leather.
In the five games the Rays have played since the All-Star Game, they have committed two errors while successfully executing 12 double plays.
Extra drills and workouts have been conducted since the start of the second half, and the work appears to be paying off.
"Part of it is when you go out there and talk about things once in a while," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, explaining that he wanted his team to be able to go out and take some fielding aside from the normal drills that take place during batting practice when "balls aren't flying around like they are during batting practice."
"Throw from some more awkward positions based on all the different places we field balls based on our shifting," Maddon said. "So again, just be more realistic, be more game kind of situations. It's been working out well. Yesterday we had the pitchers out working with them on some plays with the pitchers and the middle infielders."
Entering Wednesday night's game, the Rays had committed 73 errors, which is the second highest total in the Major Leagues behind the Orioles (79). Particularly disturbing was the fact the Rays reached 73 errors in their 90th game, which matched their error total for the entire 2011 season.
Fuld closer to returning than Longoria
ST. PETERSBURG -- Outfielder Sam Fuld may be back in Tampa Bay with the club before the end of its homestand, Rays manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday.
Out all season because of wrist surgery, Fuld is currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham, that saw him go 0-for-4 with a walk Tuesday. In seven combined rehab games with Durham and Class A Charlotte, Fuld is 3-for-20 with four walks.
Maddon said Fuld is scheduled to play nine innings in the field Wednesday.
"He's feeling pretty good," Maddon said. "He's probably ahead of schedule. I think tonight will tell a lot after he plays. [Trainer Ron Porterfield] keeps sending glowing reports about him, so it may be sooner rather than later."
One player who will definitely be on the team's road trip, which begins in Baltimore, is third baseman Evan Longoria, albeit in different circumstances. Out since April 30 because of a partially torn left hamstring, Longoria will continue working with trainers and stepping up baseball activities.
"I still don't know exactly when," Maddon said about any timetable for Longoria to return. "He's gonna come on the trip with us and try to involve the baseball skill work also. From there, we'll try to determine the appropriate time to send him back out [for a rehab start]. But we haven't decided that yet."
Longoria took batting practice before Wednesday's game. He had previously mentioned fielding backhand grounders was the most difficult thing for him to handle, but Maddon said he is progressing.
"What we like is that he's getting better," Maddon said. "He's feeling less strained in movements, which is a good thing ... You just gotta be patient, he'll know when that does not have an impact on that."
Rays don't net Competitive Balance Lottery pick
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays came up empty in the first Competitive Balance Lottery for extra picks in the 2013 Draft.
The Competitive Balance Lottery, which was agreed upon as a part of the 2012-2016 Basic Agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, gives clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional Draft picks through a lottery.
Participants in the lottery pool included the 10 lowest-revenue teams and the 10 smallest-market teams. Since there were overlaps from the two categories, there were just 13 teams total in the lottery when potentially there could have been 20.
First up was the lottery for six selections to be made immediately following the first round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. The eligible clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, were entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the second round of the Draft. A club's odds of winning the lottery were based on its prior season's winning percentage.
The Rays and Cardinals were the only teams that did not receive any of the picks.
Scott hitting well against Indians
ST. PETERSBURG -- There's something about the Indians that has Luke Scott hitting well.
The designated hitter is batting .320 against the Tribe this season heading into Wednesday's matchup, when he hit sixth in the lineup.
"Maybe for them, it's just unfortunate," Rays manager Joe Maddon said about Scott's success against Cleveland. "Overall the at-bats have gotten better, the contact has definitely gotten harder, you're seeing some balls go to the opposite field, which I think is important."
Despite a team-best 43 RBIs on the season, Scott has struggled from the plate at times, and is batting just .206 on the season.
His batting inefficiency peaked on July 6, when he compiled an 0-for-41 streak, which was finally snapped against the Indians with a home run. Since then he's picked up seven more hits, including a homer, a triple and a pair of doubles against the Indians.
Against teams other than Cleveland though, Scott is hitless in his last 41 at-bats. Maddon said he doesn't think that streak will last for very much longer based on the at-bats he's had recently.
"I really anticipate he's gonna continue this trend the rest of the half, regardless of who we're playing," Maddon said.