ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Andrew Friedman is more interested in talking about what the Tampa Bay Rays have than what they don't after not making a move to strengthen their offense before the non-waiver trade deadline.
"We're in first place ... and we control our destiny," the team's executive vice president of baseball operations said Thursday night after a bid to obtain outfielder Jason Bay ended when the two-time NL All-Star went from Pittsburgh to Boston as part of the three-way deal that sent Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The AL East-leading Rays were in the market for a strong right-handed hitter. However, Friedman expressed confidence that Tampa Bay has adequate power on the roster to improve enough offensively to stay in the race.
"We have a lot of faith in the guys we have," Friedman said during a conference call in which he declined to talk specifics about trade discussions.
The Rays lead the division by three games over the second-place Red Sox.
The New York Yankees, who have bolstered their roster by acquiring catcher Ivan Rodriguez, outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte, fell 4 1/2 games behind with Thursday's 12-6 loss to the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.
"I'm not going to address speculato," Friedman said when asked if at any time he felt the Rays were close to making a a deal. "We had conversations that went right down to the wire. Obviously when you have that, you feel like you have a chance."
But Tampa Bay was unwilling to part with several promising prospects from their talent-rich minor league system, and the Pirates wound up getting four young players from the Dodgers and Red Sox just before the deadline.
Friedman insisted he wasn't discouraged by not making a deal to shore up an offense that has struggled to score runs.
He's confident the team will continue to thrive on strong pitching and solid defense, and believes the offense will be fine if the Rays begin getting more consistent production from Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena.
"We've got a first-place club. ... We've played well, but not as well as we can," Friedman said, adding he doesn't feel any different about Tampa Bay's playoff prospects than he did before the trade deadline.
"I feel we have the talent on hand to continue to do what we did the first two-thirds of the season."
ZIMMERMAN LEAVES GAME: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman left Thursday night's game against the Phillies after getting hit in the right hand by a pitch from Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick. Zimmerman, who was playing in his ninth game after missing 48 games with a tear in his left shoulder, grimaced after Kendrick's pitch hit him in the third inning. He stayed in the game and scored a run, but he was replaced to start the fourth inning. Zimmerman was examined by team physician Dr. Benjamin Shaffer. X-rays were negative and Zimmerman is listed as day-to-day.
SEASON-ENDING INJURY? San Diego Padres shortstop Khalil Greene has a broken left hand and could miss the rest of the season, manager Bud Black said Thursday. After fouling a ball off his shin and then striking out in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday, Greene hit something in the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse with his left hand, Black said. "He was in a lot of pain down in the tunnel," Black said. "I think it was frustration with getting hit and frustration just in general with his last few at-bats." Greene is expected to be out six to eight weeks, which could mean his season is over. To take Greene's roster spot, the Padres are expected to activate second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, who's been on the disabled list with a separated right shoulder.
HUDSON HOPES FOR 'MIRACLE': Tim Hudson could see the damage himself on the MRI. One ligament in his right elbow appears partially torn. Another seems totally ripped apart. Still, the Atlanta Braves pitcher is clinging to the slimmest of hopes that he might be able to avoid Tommy John surgery. Hudson has been getting treatment and will attempt to throw this weekend, even though at least two doctors have determined he needs ligament replacement surgery. The recovery period for such an operation is generally about a year, which means the pitcher would miss good chunk of next season as well. "Surgery is always the last option," Hudson said before Thursday's game against St. Louis. "I want to try to figure out what I need to do. There might be some kind of miracle, a glimmer of hope. What if I go out there to throw and don't feel anything for whatever reason? If that's the case, I wouldn't have the surgery."