Dan Johnson Designated for Assignment; J.P. Howell Returns
The Tampa Bay Rays designated 1B Dan Johnson for assignment and sent down RP Rob Delaney to make room for the return of J.P. Howell from the DL.
The Rays also brought up Justin Ruggiano, who was tearing the cover off the ball for the Rays AAA Affiliate the Durham Bulls.
Ruggiano, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2004 draft, was batting .305 with the Bulls. He had six home runs and 30 RBI so far this year and will serve as a backup OF for the Rays.
Dan Johnson had struggled mightily, with a .115 BA. He lost his job to Seminole High’s Casey Kotchman, who has so far proven to be a steal when the Rays signed him to a minor league contract in January. Kotchman is hitting at a .330 clip so far this year and provides a stellar option as a defensive 1B. Johnson was getting some of the splits against left handers, but Kotchman has actually not performed badly. His weakness is a lack of power but he makes up for it with solid defense and has been an excellent addition to the team.
Delaney struggled in the pen and was the odd man out once Howell was ready for the call. The Rays bullpen has been pretty solid so far, and can only get better with Howell back in action.