TORONTO — C Ryan Hanigan didn't want to go on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, saying he got talked into it.
"It's a very difficult conversation," manager Joe Maddon said. "This guy is about as tough as they come."
But with Hanigan's right hamstring injury a lingering issue, both he and the Rays felt it was best to let it rest and heal completely before playing. And Maddon believes it won't take much longer than the minimal stint.
OF Kevin Kiermaier was called up from Triple-A Durham to take Hanigan's roster spot.
"It was tough," Hanigan said. "It's just not getting better right now. I think it'll be the best thing for it."
Hanigan's right hamstring has bothered him since May 15 in Anaheim, forcing him to miss three games. The Rays eased him back this past week in alternating starts with C Jose Molina, but Hanigan had a setback in Monday's game when he felt a grab. Hanigan hoped it would improve in a couple of days, but he said it's still "fatigued."
Maddon noted Hanigan battled a left wrist injury for most of last season with the Reds.
"I don't want him to go through that same thing this year by carrying his leg around," Maddon said.
Hanigan said he hasn't had an MRI exam yet, but he doesn't think there's a tear. The plan is to start strengthening the hamstring again after seven days and, hopefully, return around the time he's eligible June 11.
"I'm very optimistic," he said.
With Hanigan out, Molina is expected to take a lion's share of the playing time as rookie C Ali Solis has zero big-league starts.
But Molina was pulled before the ninth inning of Wednesday's game after getting struck in the mask with a foul tip off a Jake McGee fastball in the eighth. Maddon and assistant athletic trainer Mark Vinson made two trips to visit Molina, who adamantly argued his case to stay in.
Though Maddon said Molina was nauseous, the veteran said he wasn't and felt fine. He hadn't taken a concussion test. Both believe he should be ready by Friday.
"I'm good," he said. "When you get hit in the head, it could be anything. He just took me out."
STAY AWHILE: Kiermaier was excited to find out late Tuesday that he was getting his third callup this season. And after making a strong impression with his glove and bat in two brief previous stints (seven combined days), he's hoping for a longer stay. Maddon said Kiermaier might get that chance as he's filling in for injured OF Brandon Guyer (fractured left thumb), who is out three weeks.
"The wrong reason to be up here, but at the same time, someone has got to play that part," Kiermaier said. "I really want to break that double-digit mark of being up here."
Kiermaier said he tweaked his left knee stretching in the outfield Friday with Triple-A Durham. After missing two games as a precaution, he played Tuesday. "I feel 100 percent now," Kiermaier said. "I'm ready to go."
CASE CLOSED: After an MLB review, no suspensions are expected to be handed out from Sunday's benches-clearing incident between the Rays and Red Sox. INF Sean Rodriguez, SS Yunel Escobar and Red Sox OF Jonny Gomes were ejected.
MEDICAL MATTERS: 2B Ben Zobrist (dislocated left thumb) went 1-for-4 with a walk for Class A Charlotte on Wednesday, the first of an expected two-game rehab assignment before rejoining the Rays in Boston on Friday. Zobrist will play for the Stone Crabs again tonight. Maddon said RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow surgery) did well in a simulated game, reaching 90 mph with his fastball and throwing some curves in his two-inning session. "He had a nice day," Maddon said.