3B Longoria returns as Rays starter; Yanks' A-Rod scratched

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Rays got their prized rookie back as a starter at third base Saturday for a 7-1 win, while the New York Yankees lost their hot-corner Hall of Famer -- at least for a game.

Tampa Bay put Evan Longoria in the lineup for the opener of Saturday's day-night doubleheader for the first time since he broke his right wrist last month.

Alex Rodriguez was scratched from the Yankees' lineup with a stiff neck. Rodriguez was batting fourth and serving as the designated hitter for the nightcap.

"His neck was pretty stiff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He slept on it ... and there you go. He took treatment during the game."

Batting fifth, Longoria went 2-for-5 with two RBIs on a bases-loaded single.

Longoria, hitting .278 with 22 homers and 71 RBIs entering Saturday, was injured when he was hit by a J.J. Putz pitch on Aug. 7 against the Seattle Mariners. The Rays had activated the rookie All-Star last Saturday but held him out of the starting lineup.

"With any kind of injury there's always going to be some kind of lingering soreness and that's just the way it is," Longoria said before the game. "It's nothing that really hinders me from doing any of my normal stuff but, like I said, that soreness is going to be there probably until I can rest it in the offseason."

The Rays also recalled highly touted prospect David Price from Triple-A Durham.

Price was one of four players promoted after the Bulls lost to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the International League playoffs Friday night. The left-hander was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Vanderbilt and got a $5.6 million signing bonus and six-year, $11.25 million deal with Tampa Bay last August.

He breezed through the Rays' minor league system, going 12-1 with a 2.30 ERA over three levels this season.

"I don't expect anything different now," the lanky left-hander said. "Every day I go out there I expect the best of myself. That's what everybody in this clubhouse does and that's why they've had so much success this year."

Cody Ransom got the start at third and went 0-for-4 in the seventh spot. Left fielder Xavier Nady moved from sixth to the cleanup spot to replace Rodriguez in the lineup, and went 1-for-4.

Rodriguez, hitting .308 with 33 homers and 95 RBIs this season, was batting fourth Saturday before the switch.

The Yankees also recalled right-handers Phil Hughes and David Robertson.
Hughes could get the start Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.

Hughes was expected to be a key member of New York's rotation this season, but was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts before he was sidelined with a stress fracture in one of his ribs.

"His season has been somewhat different because of the injury," Girardi said before the opener. "He hasn't necessarily thrown a lot of innings so we thought it was important for him to continue to pitch. There are plans for him to continue to pitch, possibly in the Fall League as well."

He struck out 12 over five innings Friday night to help Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Durham 20-2, clinching the International League championship.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.