SEATTLE -- Ben Zobrist entered Friday night's contest in Seattle batting .307 since the All-Star Break with a .380 on-base percentage.
Zobrist is now two walks away from tying Carlos Pena for most in team history (460) and his next home run will be his 104th, which would tie him with Carl Crawford for fifth most in team history. In addition, Zobrist has played an immaculate second base, which prompted a question to Joe Maddon about whether Zobrist is one of the most underrated players in baseball. The Rays manager agreed with that assumption, adding: "I also believe if you ask any manager in the league, they'd be like, 'This is a guy I want on my team.'"
Maddon said it might be possible to underrate Zobrist's talents if you only saw him play occasionally.
"To be with him daily, you get to see it all and all the little things that he does," Maddon said. "And beyond that, all the team things that he does. This guy is all about winning. That's it, that's it. He doesn't care about his batting average. He does only in the sense that if he's not hitting well, that means he's not helping the team. He's all about team and he's really unique and I don't even know where we would be without him."
Rays set rotation for Sox series, bump back Archer
SEATTLE -- Joe Maddon announced his pitching rotation for next week's Boston series, and, as expected, Chris Archer is getting moved back a day to where he will start the first game of the Minnesota series next Friday.
David Price will start Tuesday night in the opening game of the three-game series with the Red sox at Tropicana Field. He will be followed by Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson, who also will be pitching on an extra day's rest.
"Just an extra day [for Archer] and then the other part [was to] have David kick it off and, like we've been talking, Cobb has been pitching well," Maddon said. "I like the idea of Helly pitching with extra rest, this last start and this next one also. And then to rest Archer a little more also. So everything is fulfilled."
Archer has pitched 156 innings this year (106 with the Rays and 50 with Triple-A Durham). Last season he pitched 157 1/3, the most innings of his career, so the Rays are taking a proactive approach to Archer proceeding.
"In [Archer's] start the other day, his stuff wasn't horrible," Maddon said. "We just thought in advance that we wanted to try and look for that moment. Hellickson coming back and doing as well as he did permits this. And like I said, Hellickson pitching this next time through with extra rest is attractive. I think it fulfills all the different things that we wanted to do.
"For right now, we're pretty much going in small clumps and see how that all works out, re-evaluate it after that."
Longoria explains story behind 'Team Wil' shirts
SEATTLE -- Evan Longoria revealed to reporters on Friday the genesis of the "Team Wil" t-shirts he had made up this week in honor of Wil Myers.
"The reason was because he never has any Rays stuff on, so I figured if I got him a shirt with Rays on the front and his name on the back, then maybe he'd be more inclined to wear it," Longoria said.
Making the new clubhouse fashion all the more appealing was the fact that Longoria handed out the shirts prior to Thursday night's game.
"And it was actually very fitting that they were finished the day after he had that huge day in Anaheim, when he hit two home runs," Longoria said. "So it was pretty fun. ... It was solely to get him to wear a shirt with the Rays' logo on it."
Longoria only had 20 of the shirts made up, which meant that some players did not get one. He explained his rationale for the number.
"I had to pay for them out of pocket, so I figured there would only be about 20 guys who would care about wearing them," Longoria said. "Some of the guys, we've had a lot of team shirts made and I see a lot of guys who don't wear them. So I just figured I knew the guys who would want to wear them.
"I had already planned on getting them before we went on the road trip. I had texted my buddy to get them in process. He lives in LA, that was kind of the first time he got them."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.