BALTIMORE — The Rays have lost another front-line player, as primary catcher Francisco Mejia will be out for at least two weeks with a right shoulder impingement.
Mejia’s placement on the 10-day injured list was announced shortly before Tuesday night’s game against the Orioles. He didn’t show any signs of the injury on Monday, when he went 2-for-4 at the plate and made a strong throw to second to catch speedy Cedric Mullins stealing, but felt something amiss Tuesday morning.
“Totally fine after the game. Totally normal,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Then he woke up and called us and said it was barking a little bit. He went and got checked out (by a doctor). We’re confident it’s an impingement. Hopefully it’s just, I’m going to say two weeks.”
Mejia, a switch hitter with a .258 average, six homers, 23 RBIs and a .688 OPS in 59 games, has been the Rays’ main catcher since Mike Zunino went on the injured list in early June with a season-ending injury. Recently acquired Christian Bethancourt, who had limited recent experience catching, has been serving as the backup. Rookie Rene Pinto, who played in 17 games during earlier stints, was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
The Mejia injury seems likely to increase the Rays’ interest in acquiring a veteran catcher by the Aug. 2 trade deadline, with the Cubs’ Willson Contreras and Oakland’s Sean Murphy two of the top ones available.
Draft breeze: Second-round pick signs
Second-round draft pick Brock Jones, an outfielder from Stanford, signed on Tuesday, getting the slot value bonus of $1,077,600, per mlb.com. Fourth-rounder Dominic Keegan, a catcher from Vanderbilt, also signed, putting 15 of the 22 picks under contract. Among the unsigned is top choice Xavier Isaac, the power-hitting North Carolina high school first baseman, though Rays officials say they are optimistic of a deal before Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
The bonuses for competitive balance picks Chandler Simpson, the Georgia Tech shortstop taken 70th, and Illinois State outfielder Ryan Cermak, taken 71st, were under-slot deals for $750,000. The slot values were $953,300 and $929,500. University of Tampa right-hander Haden Erbe was signed as an undrafted free agent, as was Fairfield University lefty Michael Sansone.
Randy Arozarena had to dive out of the way of high-and-tight pitches from Spenser Watkins during his first two at-bats, but said via team interpreter Manny Navarro: “I really don’t know, up and in. I don’t think they were doing it on purpose.” ... Bally Sports Sun’s Rays sideline reporter Tricia Whitaker has picked up an additional assignment; she was added to the Apple TV+ crew for Friday night games. She will do both gigs for the rest of the season. ... Right-handed relievers Nick Anderson and JT Chargois both had impressive one-inning outings in a Florida Complex League game Tuesday and are likely to soon shift their rehab to Triple-A Durham. Of note: Anderson, recovering from October elbow surgery, has regained some of his velocity, hitting 93-94 mph. ... Drew Rasmussen starts Wednesday, eager for the opportunity to match up with Orioles rookie phenom and franchise cornerstone Adley Rutschman, who was his catcher for two years at Oregon State. … The Rays dropped to 18-17 in one-run games. ... Isaac Paredes hit his team-high 14th homer, first since July 2.
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