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Rays demote catcher Hank Conger to Durham

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Hank Conger (24) singles in the fifth inning of the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Hank Conger (24) singles in the fifth inning of the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost 22 of their last 25 games before the All-Star break, the Rays will make at least a change behind the plate.

C Hank Conger was demoted to Triple-A on Monday, having struggled hitting and throwing. A replacement may not be named until play resumes Friday, with veteran J.P. Arencibia and prospect Luke Maile the top internal choices at Durham to come up and pair with Curt Casali.

Arencibia, who finished last season with the Rays, is hitting .221 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .623 OPS in 41 games since rejoining the Bulls. Maile, who made his big-league debut in September, is hitting .242-2-12-.650 in 58 games after a recent hot streak, which could factor in the decision.

Conger, acquired in the offseason from Houston, hit .194 with three homers, 10 RBIs and a .571 OPS, and had issues controlling the running game, throwing out only four of 39 attempted basestealers..

Cobb's day: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) was scheduled to pitch three innings Monday for Class A Charlotte in his second minor-league rehab start in Daytona Beach but stopped after a 27-pitch first inning because of fatigue.

"It was (Stone Crab manager) Michael Johns' and the trainers' call," Cobb said. "Too many pitches. Getting tired."

Cobb, in only his second game since suffering his elbow injury March 17, 2015, allowed a run on two hits and a walk. He threw 18 strikes.

"The difference between this outing and last outing was night and day," Cobb said. "A couple of more outings and I'll feel comfortable on the mound." In his first rehab outing July 6, he threw 21 pitches (eight strikes) in two-thirds of an inning for the Stone Crabs.

Cobb said he expects to make his third rehab start Saturday for the Stone Crabs.

Kiermaier update: CF Kevin Kiermaier went 0-for-2 with a walk playing for the Gulf Coast League Rays in his first rehab game since breaking his left hand on May 21. Kiermaier will hit in Port Charlotte today against rehabbing pitchers Brad Boxberger (oblique) and Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) then play for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs Wednesday and Thursday. INF Steve Pearce (hamstring) will also hit today in Port Charlotte.

Times staff writer Roger Mooney contributed to this report.

Rays demote catcher Hank Conger to Durham 07/11/16 [Last modified: Monday, July 11, 2016 10:08pm]
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