Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Ryan Hanigan injured, leaving Rays catching thin

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays are a bit thin behind the plate.

C Ryan Hanigan left Friday's game and may be sidelined until at least Tuesday due to a sore and tender right hamstring that may be pulled.

Hanigan is holding out hope it was just a cramp or a mild strain. Manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday's game that head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield was still deciding on a diagnosis.

"We haven't officially called it a pulled hammy," Maddon said. "Ronnie just said it's really sore, and to lift it or attempt to run with it would be very difficult, so we'll play it very cautious, but if we need to use him we will. … It's not awful, but it is debilitating right now."

Jose Molina started Saturday and will do so again today, with INF Sean Rodriguez and RF Wil Myers (who caught his first two years in the minors) candidates for emergency duty if Hanigan was needed and couldn't go.

"It's a little sore, but I think I'll be able to manage," Hanigan said. "I think it's probably somewhere in between (a cramp and a strain). Nothing too crazy, but it's a little tender."

The Rays don't have an experienced option at Triple-A Durham if Hanigan is going to be out longer.

COBB SET: RHP Alex Cobb looked and felt good in a five-inning rehab start in Port Charlotte, setting him up to rejoin the rotation Thursday against the A's.

"I feel physically able to go out and compete in a big-league game, that's for sure," Cobb told reporters there.

Cobb, out since April 12 with an oblique strain, allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine, throwing 64 pitches (then 11 in the bullpen).

"I went out there and just threw all my pitches," he said. "I didn't have any residual feelings of any pain coming back or any thought of any pain coming back. … Everything came out good, so I was pleased with it."

The Rays will wait to see how Cobb feels this morning and probably after a Monday bullpen session to make his Thursday return official, though Maddon said, "We felt if he gets through this okay he's probably pretty much ready to come back to us."

The Rays have listed RHP Jake Odorizzi to start Tuesday and LHP Erik Bedard Wednesday, with Thursday as TBA. Maddon said they haven't decided yet whom to drop from the rotation to make room for Cobb.

SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT: OF Kevin Kiermaier was called up Saturday after CF Desmond Jennings was placed on the bereavement list following a death in the family he declined to disclose. Jennings is expected back Tuesday. Kiermaier got his first major-league hit, an infield single in the sixth against Angels LHP C.J. Wilson. Kiermaier said he welcomed the opportunity. "Always feels good to be back here," he said. "I'm pretty excited to be back with these guys, and try to contribute any way I can."

PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price starts today coming off one of his best starts, a six-hit, 12-strikeout complete game win over the Mariners. The key? "Just commanding the zone and executing pitches," he said. "That's what I did a very good job of in Seattle. I was ahead, a lot of first-pitch strikes."

SPECIAL TALENT: To keep his right arm in shape and not endanger his dislocated left thumb, 2B Ben Zobrist went through an interesting routine to play catch. He would throw right-handed, then put a glove on his right hand to catch the return, then take it off to throw. "Do what you've got to do," he said.

MISCELLANY: INF Jayson Nix officially signed a minor-league deal and joined Durham. … As part of Armed Forces Day, the Rays and Angels wore caps and jerseys with camo. … Former Ray Al Martin was a pregame clubhouse guest. … INF Cole Figueroa made his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning Friday, popping out.

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