Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Injury-plagued Tampa Bay Rays are showing the value of depth

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have enough depth — assuming they don't have any more players go down — to get through this staggering round of injuries.

They are confident DH Pat Burrell will be back, and better, in the relatively near future, though after Saturday's game they called up hot-hitting Matt Joyce to take a few swings in his absence.

They are comfortable enough — though a bit defensively deficient — with Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist (and eventually Reid Brignac) handling second base. Plus, they'll have another option by early July as Triple-A starter Elliot Johnson returns from a right thumb fracture, and they have Ray Olmedo, out now with a minor injury but with big-league experience.

And though they've added Jason Isringhausen, David Price and Dale Thayer and Randy Choate to the pitching staff in the past two weeks, they have more arms stashed.

If they need a starter, Wade Davis, Carlos Hernandez and Mitch Talbot are all available at Durham. If they need relief, Chad Bradford is nearly recovered from elbow surgery, and Triple-A relievers with big-league time include Winston Abreu, Jason Childers, Chad Orvella and now Thayer.

"I think we're all learning firsthand how valuable depth is," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "I would prefer we had realized it in a different way.

"But we do have a lot of very capable guys that we feel are good players that are going to need to step up and perform like they're capable of. The position we're in could be a lot worse without the talented players we had in this organization to be able to draw from when faced with an onslaught of injuries in such a short period of time."

The Rays went through something similar in August, when Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and Troy Percival all went down in a seven-game span, and they weathered that well.

But, manager Joe Maddon said, they were better able to cope last year because they were already on a roll. "Then all of a sudden injuries occurred and you've got this momentum built up and — boom! — guys just jumped in there and pretty much got it maintained," he said. "This year, we're having to build momentum while we're going through this. That's a little more difficult, having to build momentum without your regular group out there."

Injury-plagued Tampa Bay Rays are showing the value of depth 05/30/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned

    Bucs

    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues

    Bucs

    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]