Sunday, May 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays call up Stephen Vogt, send Jeff Salazar to minors

The Tampa Bay Rays decided they needed more offensive help and assigned OF Jeff Salazar to the minors after today's game, opting instead to callup utilityman Stephen Vogt.

Also, with RHP Kyle Farnsworth headed to the DL, it appears RHP Josh Lueke is the leading candidate to be called up and join the bullpen.

Vogt, 27, was the Rays minor-league player of the year last season, hitting a combined .298 with 17 homers, 35 doubles and 105 RBI between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He hit .323 in spring training before being optioned to Triple-A on March 18.

Vogt was in the trainer's room in Durham getting his wrists taped to catch Chris Archer's simulated game when coach Dave Myers called him into the office with the news he was being promoted.

"He said you're going to the big leagues, you have a flight at 7:30, don't miss it, go home and pack,'' Vogt said. "I'm just in shock right now. It's definitely one of the best days of my life.''

Salazar, 31, had looked to be the winner of the final roster spot based on his big-league experience and strong spring (.282). By choosing Vogt, the Rays are further limiting their depth in centerfield, with Ben Zobrist potentially the top pick if Desmond Jennings, who is already filling in for Sam Fuld, needs a break. Elliot Johnson and Matt Joyce are other possibilities, Maddon said.

Manager Joe Maddon said they turned to Vogt - a lefthanded hitter - for his bat, and that he will get time in leftfield, behind the plate and as a pinch-hitter.

With Brandon Gomes not quite ready in his recovery from back surgery, the Rays likely will turn to Lueke, 27, who was acquired in trade from the Mariners for John Jaso. Lueke made his major-league debut last season in Seattle, going 1-1, 6.06 in 25 games.

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