The Rays hope they detected Michael Perez’s right oblique strain before it became a serious issue.
The team placed the backup catcher on the 10-day injured list but believe he’s avoided a longer stint on the IL because of early detection. Perez felt the strain during batting practice before Tuesday night’s game against Arizona.
“Had he played yesterday, there was a chance for him to really do some damage,” manager Kevin Cash said. “So, it’s kind of day to day, but I know for the next three days or so it will be pretty quiet. Just getting it treated.”
In the past, oblique strains have kept players out of action for much longer periods, as high as eight or 10 weeks. Perez however, believes he’ll only be out for far less.
"It felt okay and then during pregame, right before the game, I went to the cage again and that’s where I felt it a little more,” Perez said through a translator. “The doctor said it wasn’t too specific, a mild strain. They caught it early enough to where if I would have been in the game it might have taken, you know, a little bit longer but I’m hoping 2-3 weeks recovery.”
With the injury, the Rays called up Nick Ciuffo from Triple A Durham. However, the Rays’ afternoon game against Arizona means primary catcher Mike Zunino will be pressed into the service this after getting off the couch and gearing up to play last night when Perez came up lame just before first pitch Tuesday.
Normally, catchers get the afternoon off when playing the night before, but Zunino said he takes pride in being ready to play and was up for the challenge.
“You gotta just do what it takes to get your body loose,” Zunino said. “It’s not the easiest of days but you go out there and just do what it takes. It’s definitely nice when we’re playing well and you can help the team.”
In an unrelated move, the Rays also called up pitcher Austin Pruitt and sent down pitcher Casey Sadler. Tampa Bay wanted someone who could pitch multiple innings if necessary.
Meanwhile, reliever Hunter Wood will pitch an extended spring game Friday and hopes to be activated and eligible on Sunday for the final game of the Yankees series.
Times staff writer Mari Faiello contributed to this report. Contact Ernest Hooper at email@example.com. Follow @hoop4you.