ST. PETERSBURG -- Kyle Farnsworth will be on the 60-day disabled list until at least June, but that hasn't stopped last year's Rays closer from observing the good work performed by this year's closer, Fernando Rodney.
"He's doing well," Farnsworth said. "He definitely has the stuff to do it, and he's been there before, so it's good for those guys to come in and step [up]. Hopefully when I come back we can keep this going."
Rodney likes to wear his hat with the brim turned slightly to the left. Farnsworth smiled when asked if he would employ such a practice upon his return to the team.
"No, plain and simple, plain Jane," Farnsworth said. "I've been there before so I'll just keep on going [the same way]."
Farnsworth said he won't be hung up on being the team's closer when he returns.
"We're all in it to win the World Series, so whatever Joe has me do," Farnsworth said. "I've said that since Day 1. Wherever he has me pitch, that's where I'm going to go and I'll go out and do the best I can."
Rivera injury won't deter Rays from routine
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera injured himself shagging fly balls on Thursday, but don't expect Rays pitchers to quit the time-honored pregame practice.
"I don't want it to go away," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's one of the ways they try to get in shape. If we want to stop doing that, we're going to have to have every guy picked up on a daily basis by a limousine and brought to the ballpark.
"They're not a bunch of China dolls, and you can't lock them up. They're baseball players, they're having a good time. Part of it is conditioning. Part of it is routine."
Rays right-hander James Shields said "I love shagging."
"... [It's good for] cardio and it makes you feel a little athletic," he laughed. "If they need an extra outfielder, I'm good to go."
To hold back would be a dangerous path according to Shields.
"I feel like the more cautious I am out there, the more chance there is I'll get hurt," he said.
Jeremy Hellickson said that David Price definitely has "got the most energy out there" among the pitchers shagging flies during batting practice.
"We're out there pretty much every day doing that," Hellickson said. "It's just unfortunate for [Rivera] and that team, but we're out there doing it every day and you really don't hear about [people getting injured] ever."
Maddon still fond of former Rays Gomes, Balfour
ST. PETERSBURG -- Two of the Rays' most popular players are in town for the weekend series with the Athletics, Grant Balfour and Jonny Gomes.
"Two of my favorite players that we've ever had here," Maddon said. "A lot of it's based on not only being good, but the emotion for the game. And they fit our culture extremely well."
When asked about a favorite memory from either of the former Rays, Maddon brought up the scrum that occurred in 2008 at Al Lang Field after Shelly Duncan of the Yankees went into Akinori Iwamura at second base with his spikes high. Gomes charged to second base immediately and a brawl ensued.
"How he reacted at Al Lang is what Jonny's all about," Maddon said. "That was sticking up for his teammates, [he's] never going to run away from the action."
Balfour, who now closes for the Athletics, still lives in Clearwater, Fla., with his wife and 11-month-old daughter. He remembered the 2008 season and the fun they had as a team as his fondest memory while a Ray.
"Joe [Maddon] allows you to have fun," Balfour said. "He lets you go out there and have fun. I think you see a lot of guys come here have good years because [the way he manages] allows him to get the most out of them."
Tampa Chamber of Commerce picks lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- For the second consecutive year, Maddon spoke at a Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon and he allowed those at the group to select the lineup for a second consecutive year.
The Chamber is "going for a 2-0 record," Maddon said. "They had a great day last year -- they were 1-0, and so now they're going for 2-0."
Among their selections was B.J. Upton batting in the second spot with Carlos Pena batting third.
"They liked Upton in the two-hole," Maddon said. "The biggest dispute was Joyce vs. Pena, three-four. Then I explained to them the idea of Carlos being a high on-base percentage guy, having good at-bats, possibly setting the table even further for Joyce, so we all decided on Pena three and Joyce four."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.