March 25, 2012; Port Charlotte, FL, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann (34) during their spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Notes: Niemann Hurt, Longo OK, Suarez & Rhymes Stay with Rays


Bad news on the injury front for the Rays, although it certainly could be worse. Niemann saw a shoulder specialist after leaving his last start with “upper right arm tightness” and unfortunately there’s a problem. As Marc Topkin tweeted, Niemann will be out indefinitely with some inflammation in his rotator cuff. Niemann is trying to stay positive in the wake of this unfortunate diagnosis.

The good news in this situation is that the Rays never really needed 6 starters in the first place and anything Niemann gave them would have been gravy.

The Rays’ other injury news is luckily positive. Evan Longoria left Monday’s game after 8 innings, but it was only for precautionary reasons.

But that wasn’t the only good Longoria news.

You never know when an extra base could make a difference, and it’s nice to see Longo able to run at closer to full strength. Longoria has stolen just 5 bases the past two years after stealing 15 in 2010, and maybe we’ll see Longo swipe a base or two in key spots over the course of September now he’s running better.

The two players who the Rays designated for assignment recently, RHP Albert Suarez and INF Will Rhymes have both passed through waivers per Topkin and will stay in the organization. The minor league regular season is over, so Suarez will not see any more action in 2012 unless he’s promoted to Double-A Montgomery for the playoffs, while Rhymes provides insurance in case an infielder does on the DL in September. We talked more about their situation in our new piece two days ago.

A couple jabs were made at Rays on Monday, with David Schoenfield of ESPN ripping Carlos Pena, and Davie Johnson of the Nationals jarring at Joe Maddon in a Washington Post article by Adam Kilgore. The Pena one might be warranted, but the Maddon jab is pure nonsense. Listen to this.

“I think it’s very important,” Johnson said. “This goes back to we’re trying repudiate my buddy in Tampa about nobody wanting to sign here.” (Johnson was referring to his feud with Rays Manager Joe Maddon, who insisted players wouldn’t sign with the Nationals because Johnson checked reliever Joel Peralta’s glove for pine tar.)

He’s talking about a Quad-A lefty reliever, Zach Duke, signing with the Nats! Maybe Maddon’s statement was spur-of-the-moment and misguided, but Duke signing with the Nats proves zilch.

And we’ll close with a couple more tweets.

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Tags: Evan Longoria Jeff Niemann Tampa Bay Rays