Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)


Rays' Pena expected back soon

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays got good news Friday on 1B Carlos Pena, who has merely a sore right hamstring and could return to the lineup as soon as tonight.

And they also got some potential insurance, and perhaps only that, by claiming 1B/DH Dan Johnson off waivers from Oakland.

Pena, who left Thursday's game with tightness, said he was pleasantly surprised that he "felt great" when he woke Friday, walked with "no problem" and that an MRI exam was negative. He took batting practice before and was in the cage during Friday's game, available to pinch-hit.

"I think it will be a non-issue," Pena said, with plans to DH tonight and return to first Sunday.

But the Rays, their depth challenged with nine players already on the disabled list, took some precautionary action by claiming Johnson, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter who has shown flashes of power in parts of three seasons with Oakland, hitting 18 homers last season.

The Rays made room on the 40-man roster for Johnson by designating for assignment Triple-A Durham reliever Calvin Medlock, who was 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in six games.

But they did not add Johnson to the 25-man active roster and did not appear in any hurry to do so, with manager Joe Maddon saying details weren't set and he might not arrive until Tuesday's game. (Since he is out of options he can't be sent to the minors without having to clear waivers.)

Maddon spoke highly of Johnson's offensive skills but said before Friday's game there were "no specific plans at this moment" for how Johnson would be used when he does report, which raises the question if he will at all should Pena turn out to be healthy.

"We're not there yet," Maddon said. "We're going to wait and see. Carlos' availability is going to have some factor concerning that."

Johnson, designated for assignment April 9 having gotten one at-bat, was still in Oakland on Friday afternoon waiting to hear from the Rays. In 318 career big-league games, he has a .249 average and 42 home runs.

"I don't know exactly what they're thinking, but any playing time is good playing time," he said.

CATCHING ON: Maddon acknowledged what has become obvious, that veteran C Mike DiFelice is making a good case to stick around as the backup over Shawn Riggans when Dioner Navarro comes off the DL, likely Tuesday.

"It's becoming a tougher call," Maddon said.

Riggans didn't start Thursday due to hamstring tightness (and wasn't scheduled to play Friday), but is expected back tonight, Maddon said. It is unlikely they would keep three catchers.

MISCELLANY: Ex-Ray RHP Doug Waechter was called up by the Marlins on Friday and worked two scoreless innings against Washington. … Chicago's Jim Thome tied Mel Ott for 21st place on the all-time list with his 521st homer, a blast off the C-ring catwalk in rightfield (conservatively estimated at 418 feet) that Maddon said "might be the furthest I've ever seen here." … Top draft pick LHP David Price, sidelined since spring training with elbow issues, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today at the minor-league complex.

Rays' Pena expected back soon 04/18/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.