Thursday, November 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays call up catching prospect Nick Ciuffo

UPDATE, 6:17: Cash said Ciuffo will play "a lot," that they feel he can hold his own offensively and they really like the defense, plus the familiarity with the staff. "We're excited where Nick has progressed this year,' Cash said. "He's had an interesting season even starting in the off-season. I thought he handled some of the issues that he had early on. He went to Triple-A, and talking to (Durham manager) Jared Sandberg and that staff, he's handled the pitching staff really well."

UPDATE, 3:25: Ciuffo not only got called up, but he is in  the lineup to make his big-league debut, catching and hitting ninth.

DEVELOPING: The Rays continue to supplement their roster in surprising ways, announcing Monday they would call up Nick Ciuffo, their most advanced catching prospect.

They also announced that RHP Jake Faria has been added to the taxi squad, meaning he is likely to be activated on Tuesday, and that, as expected, OF Mallex Smith (viral infection) was activated off the DL.

Ciuffo, 23, has been playing at Triple-A Durham, hitting .262 with 5 homers, 28 RBIs and a .681 OPS in 60 games, and playing his usual good defense behind the plate. He was suspended for the first 50 games due to a positive drug test said to be for using marijuana.

Though most teams add a third catcher to have more flexibility for in-game moves in September, the Rays indicated when they called up Adam Moore last week to replace injured C Michael Perez they would initially stay with two.

Whether today's move is a sign that Perez won't be back as soon as expected, or that Jesus Sucre's sore wrist is bothering him or that they just wanted to add Ciuffo's defensive prowess is not yet known.

This was the second unexpected move in two days as the Rays on Sunday called up INF/OF Andrew Velazquez to add depth, versatility and speed off the bench.

Ciuffo has to be added to the 40-man roster, and that corresponding move is expected later today.

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