Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Hamstring troubling Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan

TORONTO — The Rays recalled rookie C Ali Solis from Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, providing insurance as C Ryan Hanigan battles a nagging right hamstring injury.

"It's kind of been a problem," Hanigan said.

Hanigan acknowledged that he may land on the disabled list, with the team likely making a decision in the next few days. Hanigan said the hamstring, which sidelined him for three games on the last West Coast road trip, is not healing like it should, and he suffered a setback Monday night when it was tight during his start.

Hanigan wants to play through it, hoping that with Thursday's off day he can rest/treat the injury. But he doesn't know how long it'll take to get better, so putting him on the DL might be the best option.

"It's a tough call," he said. "Because it's not excruciating. I have been functional. But it's bothersome. I think, being a catcher, it's a little tougher putting weight on it. … It's frustrating."

Hanigan said the hamstring affects him when he's running or catching but isn't a reason for his recent 0-for-23 slump. "No excuse," he said.

Manager Joe Maddon didn't rule out the DL, saying the Rays want to be careful with Hanigan, their main catcher, and don't want him to make it worse by overcompensating.

"Hamstrings, next to broken bones, are probably the worst things you can possibly get," Maddon said. "Everything is so impacted by it, you can't move."

While C Jose Molina started Tuesday, and will carry the load with Hanigan out, Solis, 26, could make his first big-league start as early as today.

"He's going to play," Maddon said.

Solis, the Bulls' starting catcher, found out late Monday night that he was getting his first callup since 2012 with the Padres. He was struggling offensively, hitting .186 with a homer and 12 RBIs in 29 games. "Not a good year right now for me," Solis said. "But it's still early in the season."

Solis believes his strength is his defense, saying he has learned a lot from Molina and Hanigan. Solis, who signed a minor-league deal with the Rays in November, has played in five big-league games, all with the Padres in 2012, and is 0-for-4.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Solis, LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) was moved to the 60-day DL.

MEDICAL MATTERS: INF Ben Zobrist (dislocated left thumb) was sick Tuesday so he didn't play for Class A Charlotte, but Maddon said he could still rejoin the team as scheduled Friday in Boston. Zobrist is scheduled to play tonight and Thursday for the Stone Crabs, and if all goes well, he'll be activated Friday. Zobrist did hit against velocity from a pitching machine Tuesday, and it went well, Maddon said. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow surgery) will throw a simulated game today in Port Charlotte.

AIMING UP: RHP Chris Archer enters tonight's start hoping to build off a growth moment from his last one, when he threw a career-high 119 pitches and felt as if he got better toward the end of his six shutout innings. "The fact that I didn't lose anything whenever I got beyond 100 pitches, the fact in other situations when my pitch count was high, I wouldn't make pitches," Archer said. "Even though my pitch count was high, it didn't really affect my stuff."

STARRY NIGHT: Evan Longoria ranks second among American League third basemen in fan All-Star voting, according to Tuesday's first update. Longoria has 407,724 votes, trailing only the A's Josh Donaldson (464,367), with the Rangers' Adrian Beltre third. No other Rays are represented among the position players in this first update. Fans can vote in stadiums through June 25, and online at mlb.com.

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