ST. PETERSBURG — Another day, another injury for the Rays. And more roster shuffling.
LHP C.J. Riefenhauser on Thursday became the mind-boggling 12th Ray placed on the disabled list, leaving them with the strategic disadvantage of a bullpen that is all right-handed.
That was just the start of things.
The Rays called up OF Mikie Mahtook to add depth to the bench Thursday, then sent him back to Durham to make room for LHP Drew Smyly to come off the disabled list and make his season debut tonight after recovering from shoulder tendinitis that sidelined him in spring training.
They also will activate 1B James Loney, who was deemed recovered from an oblique strain after going 1-for-4 as the DH in a rehab game in Port Charlotte. 1B Allan Dykstra was optioned to Durham.
As the Rays sort that out, they also have to decide on a Saturday starter. That may come down to whether RHP Matt Andriese and/or RHP Erasmo Ramirez is used in relief tonight.
Another option could be RHP Alex Colome, who has made three rehab starts while recovering from pneumonia and said, after throwing a bullpen session Thursday, that he felt ready to return. But the Rays seem more likely to have him make another rehab start in an effort to get him stretched out to rejoin the rotation next week, as he hasn't worked more than 31/3 innings.
The lack of a left-handed reliever will be one more challenge for rookie manager Kevin Cash as he manages his bullpen over the next couple weeks, until Riefenhauser (shoulder inflammation) or LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) return.
"It's always a challenge," Cash said. "You want to keep guys healthy, and the last thing we want to do is the guys that are healthy risk injuring them. We do have some guys that are right-handed that match up pretty well against some left-handers. So that makes it a little easier."
Riefenhauser said he felt tight Sunday after being called up and working in games Friday (15 pitches) and Saturday (16). He and the Rays hoped rest would help, but when he still was sore Thursday they decided on a DL stint.
"Just being cautious about the whole thing," Riefenhauser said. "It stinks for me because you see this opportunity here. It's not going to take long. It's a little inflammation, I guess. I'm not too worried about it."
Cash said they had be cautious, especially after their other lefty reliever, Jeff Beliveau, was lost for the season when his shoulder soreness turned out to be a torn labrum requiring surgery Thursday by Dr. James Andrews.
GO TO THE VIDEO: Cash said he won't change his strategy or philosophy in seeking replay reviews despite failing to have any plays overturned in their first nine challenges.
"Going into the season we wanted to be aggressive and obviously we've been pretty aggressive,' Cash said. "We've had some close ones that are not confirmed, just not enough to overturn them. … I like the way we've gone about it so far, and we will continue to be aggressive."
Want more than just the box score?
Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Going back to 2014, the Rays went into play Thursday on an 0-for-10 streak, one shy of the record set by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny last May-July.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: One year and a day after his Tommy John elbow surgery, LHP Matt Moore said "things are going very well," with tentative plans to start facing hitters in the next two weeks as he aims for a late June/early July return.
MISCELLANY: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn threw out a ceremonial first pitch, saying he was waiting for the Rays to get permission to talk about a stadium site. … SS Asdrubal Cabrera had his only error removed due to a scoring change from the April 15 game; Josh Donaldson was given a hit. … Due to injuries and other issues, the Jays may be without Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Dioner Navarro tonight.