Tampa Bay Rays to recall Brandon Guyer, hoping he can provide a boost for this year, next

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays are bringing up OF Brandon Guyer today to take a look at how he might fit into their plans for next season.

But also to see if he can provide a boost for the rest of this one.

"He's interesting," manager Joe Maddon said, "so we've got to see what this is all about."

Guyer and OF Justin Ruggiano, who has been on the disabled list since early August, are the only two players who will be added on the first day rosters can be expanded.

RHP Andy Sonnanstine will rejoin the bullpen when the Rays return home Friday, and C Jose Lobaton seems likely to join them during the weekend if he gets though the final stages of the rehab of his left knee sprain, with plans to catch seven innings tonight for Class A Charlotte.

Guyer, 25, one of five players acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal, starred in his first season at the Triple-A level, hitting .312 with 14 homers, 61 RBIs and a .905 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 107 games. He also had two brief stints with the Rays, making a memorable May 6 debut with a homer in his first at-bat.

The Rays want to see what he can do over an extended period, and with the challenge of facing contending teams.

"He's a guy that could possibly help us right away, that's part of it," Maddon said. "And the other part is you want to see him for the future. It gives you a little better idea about planning in the winter time."

Guyer could be in the running for a spot on the big-league roster, and even in the lineup if the Rays were to trade B.J. Upton.

Sonnanstine was sent down in early July with an 0-2, 5.71 mark and didn't do much better at Triple-A Durham, going 3-6, 5.46, including a rough outing Wednesday (seven runs, six earned, in three innings). But the Rays need a long/mop-up man and Maddon said, "For what we're looking for, he was the right guy.''

Lobaton was injured July 17 and has played five rehab games but caught only once, five innings on Tuesday.

HAPPY TO (STILL) BE HERE: Wednesday was essentially the final trade deadline, as teams had to set their postseason eligibility rosters by midnight.

That meant veteran DH Johnny Damon — who cleared waivers and was thought to be of some interest to a contender — will finish the season as a Ray, which he said was a good thing given his preference to return next season.

"I hope the organization and the fans have enjoyed what I brought to the team this season, and hopefully I can continue to do so in the future beyond this year," Damon said. "There's probably a handful of teams that I may consider if I didn't come back here, but I just feel like it's a really good fit."

JUSTIN TIME: Ruggiano said his left knee feels fine after a six-game rehab at Durham and he's available for whatever duty the Rays have planned. "I got about a good week's worth of games in and it responded well every time, so it was a good little rehab session," he said.

Ruggiano said the knee started bothering him after the first homestand following the All-Star break — specifically in "changing gears" and when decelerating — and just got worse.

MISCELLANY: Damon's homer was his 2,704th hit, giving him sole possession of 63rd place on the all-time list. … John Jaso's second-inning RBI single snapped a team 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position dating to Sunday. … First-pitch temperature was 102 for the second straight night. … Tonight's game moves to 970-AM with the Bucs' preseason game on 620-AM. … Rookie-level Prince­ton INF Taylor Motter was named an Appalachian League All-Star and promoted to Class A Bowling Green.

Tampa Bay Rays to recall Brandon Guyer, hoping he can provide a boost for this year, next 08/31/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:25am]

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