Rays drop Dan Johnson, summon Ruggiano, activate Howell

UPDATE, 6:01: Maddon said the Rays didn't called up Desmond Jennings (or Brandon Guyer) because they want him to play every day and he wouldn't be doing that here, since Ruggiano is going to be a reserve. And while Maddon didn't say the move was also made because of Sam Fuld's extended slump, it seems obvious that Ruggiano would provide an alternative, at least against lefthanded pitchers. ... Maddon said he won't hestiate to use Ruggiano. ... He also said he hopes Dan Johnson ends up staying in the organization because he could definitely be of help later in the season. ... The idea behind hitting Jaso leadoff tonight was born out of wanting to keep Longoria fourth, Maddon said, and with Fuld not in the lineup he felt Jaso was the next best choice.

UPDATE, 3:52: Johnson said he was "kind of numb right now" over the move, but also could see why the Rays did it given his poor numbers. His frustration is in how close he felt he came to getting a number of hits. "It's such a game of inches,'' he said. "Everybody else's balls started falling and mine were still being caught, then I got hit on the wrist and missed some time and then it just kept snowballing.''

Johnson said it was too soon to say if he'd stay with the Rays organization and report to Durham if he clears waivers, but sounded like he was open to it. "It's not like they've anything bad to me, or like I was hitting .300 at the time,'' he said. "It's still a good taste.'' Also, there is the matter of his contract, which would forfeit if he declined the assignment and became a free agent.

DEVELOPING: The Rays designated for assignment 1B Dan Johnson and called up OF Justin Ruggiano on Friday.

They also activated LHP J.P. Howell from the DL and optioned RHP Rob Delaney back to Durham. Johnson, who began the season as the starter, lost his job to Casey Kotchman and has played sparingly. The Rays have 10 days to trade, release or pass him through waivers.

With a $1-million salary, Johnson would seem likely to clear waivers so he could end up back in Durham.

Howell missed all of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

[Last modified: Sunday, June 19, 2011 12:15am]

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