Zobrist recalled; Gomes optioned
The Rays have recalled INF Ben Zobrist from Triple-A Durham, and optioned OF Jonny Gomes to the Bulls.
Gomes, primarily the DH against lefthanded pitchers and occasional starter in rightfield, hit .182 in 69 games with the Rays this season.
"It's definitely a bummer,'' Gomes said. "I went this last year but it's a little bit differnt this year; I've got 140 at-bats at this point so not a whole lot of upside to this season for me as of right now. I've always said no matter where I go, whatever, I just want to play baseball. Money's great and everything, but there's an upside to this, too, I can go play baseball everyday. And to tell you the truth I'm really excited about it.''
Gomes said he had an idea the move was coming with OF Rocco Baldelli returning, and figures he could be back in September when rosters expand. He also said he hopes to one day get the chance to play everyday in the big leagues, and that he thought he was going to get that chance this season.
"The first time it caught me by surprise that I wasn't going to be playing was opening day,'' Gomes said. "I was told I was going to spend a lot of time in rightfield, all the way to the last day of spring training on the flight to Baltimore, I was going to get the majority of the time in rightfield. I was real surprised since day one when I wasn't in the lineup opening day. So when it rains it pours.''
This will be Zobrist's fourth stint with the Rays this season; he's hit .230 with five homers and eight RBI in 23 games in Tampa Bay this season.
In Monday's game, Willy Aybar made his big league debut at shortstop, which manager Joe Maddon said was not an "optimal" situation. He was bothered during the game by cramps in his right leg, but said he was fine after the game.
-- JOE SMITH
[Ben Zobrist watches as his ball goes over the wall for two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 17th. Dirk Shadd, Times files]