One of the reasons why the Rays have been searching for outfield help may be due to concerns about Sam Fuld, and his ability to remain healthy. Sidelined since March 3rd due to hamstring tightness, Fuld was expected to be back either Friday or Saturday, but that has been postponed. Fuld and the Rays have been adamant that there have not been any setbacks, but the continued problems have to be a concern, particularly after his hamstring problems last year.
When healthy, Fuld can fill a valuable role as the Rays fourth outfielder and late inning defensive replacement/pinch runner. Yet, he has been rather injury prone in his career, and any delays may point to potential issues in the future. This situation certainly bears watching.
The Rays made a couple of moves on Friday, as they optioned Tim Beckham, Hak-Ju Lee and Robinson Chirinos to the AAA Durham Bulls. None of these moves are particularly surprising. Chrinios, after missing all of last season due to the affects of a concussion, needs to be receiving regular playing time. Lee has spent most of the past couple of seasons at AA Montgomery, and now gets to take that next step towards the majors. Beckham is expected to continue his possible conversion into a super utility player, as he is expected to receive playing time at short, second and in the outfield.
Finally, even though the US team was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, Ben Zobrist will be returning back to the Rays, and is actually expected back at the clubhouse tomorrow. In the 4-3 loss that eliminated the American team from the WBC, Zobrist was 0-2 with two walks, including one with the bases loaded that drove in the final run for the US.