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Tampa Bay Rays learn a hard lesson in the necessity of depth

Rays executives believe they plan for everything.

But when outfielder Brandon Guyer reported soreness in his shoulder at the start of last week, meaning they would be without their second-, third- and now fourth-string centerfielders, they found themselves pulling essentially an all-nighter to find a replacement.

They looked at four or five players who could handle playing centerfield and ended up making a Wednesday morning deal with the Phillies to get Rich Thompson.

The lesson, executive VP Andrew Friedman said, was simple: You can't ever, ever, ever have enough depth.

"The greatest challenge of the last six weeks has been the concentration of injuries on the position player side," he said. "It's almost being glossed over now, but B.J (Upton), when he was out for the first few weeks of the year, that kind of started the domino effect for us in terms of trying to make sure we had the requisite amount of depth on hand.

"And every time we felt like we got to a point where we felt we were okay, we had another injury, and we had to keep scrambling."

So even after claiming Brandon Allen, and signing Hideki Matsui, and trading for Thompson, and shuttling players between Triple A and the majors, expect the Rays to add more.

"The one thing I've learned the last few weeks is to not ever feel like we reached a point where we have the requisite amount of depth," Friedman said. "Maybe we'll keep trying to work the phones and the waiver wires to make sure that we don't have to have one of those late-night exercises we had to undergo with Rich."

.FAST FACTS

Lining up

With all their injuries, the Rays used 37 lineups in their first 41 games, with multiple starters at each position:

C: Molina (21), Gimenez (17), Lobaton (3)

1B: Peña (40), Keppinger (1)

2B: Keppinger (11), Zobrist (11), Rhymes (10), Johnson (6), Rodriguez (3)

SS: Rodriguez (24), Johnson (12), Brignac (5)

3B: Longoria (23), Rodriguez (8), Keppinger (6), Rhymes (3), Johnson (1)

LF: Joyce (21), Jennings (13), Allen (3), Guyer (2), Thompson (2)

CF: Upton (26), Jennings (15)

RF: Zobrist (28), Joyce (13)

DH: Scott (33), Keppinger (6), Vogt (2)

Tampa Bay Rays learn a hard lesson in the necessity of depth 05/19/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 19, 2012 9:08pm]
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