Rays Notes: Peralta Suspended, Price Speaks at White House, Keppinger Coming Back

By Robbie Knopf

In the wake of the “Glove Check Game,” Rays reliever Joel Peralta has been suspended 8 games by Major League Baseball. Peralta was ejected from Wednesday’s game for having an exorbitant amount of pine tar in his glove after Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked the umpires to check his glove before he even threw a pitch. Peralta will appeal the suspension and can pitch during the appeal process.

Exciting Rays news that we didn’t hear about until the moment it happened was that David Price spoke at the White House on Thursday along with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and soccer star David Beckham. Price was filling in for Evan Longoria. All the athletes were speaking about Vice President Joe Biden’s “1 is 2 Many” initiative against dating violence.

Amidst so many injuries and now suspensions, the Rays do know that one player is about to come back, infielder Jeff Keppinger, as Keppinger himself noted and JB Long confirmed. Keppinger is scheduled to return on Friday against the Phillies. Keppinger could replace Joel Peralta on the Rays’ roster should Peralta lose or drop his appeal of his suspension or Matt Joyce could be placed on the DL. Rich Thompson is a candidate to be sent down to Triple-A Durham as well.

Speaking of Matt Joyce, Joyce’s status is still up in the air. As Marc Topkin tweeted, Joyce remains day-to-day and it remains to be seen whether he will require a DL stint. Joyce leads all qualifying Rays in OPS by a wide margin at .899.

The Rays have claimed infielder Brooks Conrad off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. Conrad, 32, went just 3 for 40 (.075) in 44 games for the Brewers this season, although 2 of his hits were homers and he drove in 6. In 256 career games, Conrad has a .212/.287/.406 line with 18 doubles, 16 homers, and 62 RBI in 420 plate appearances. Conrad has major league experience at all four infield positions, primarily second and third base, and he also played the corner outfield positions in the minors.  Conrad will likely be assigned to Triple-A Durham.

Rays left-handed pitching prospects Enny Romero and Felipe Rivero have been named to the “World” team in the 2012 MLB Futures Game, which will be played in Kansas City the day before the All-Star Game. Romero has a 3.08 ERA in 12 starts and 2 relief appearances thus far this season while Rivero has a 2.43 ERA in 13 starts and a relief appearance.

And finally, in a draft note, the Rays have signed their third round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, outfielder Alvin Toles. Toles is a speedy outfielder who has shown some nice bat speed and a little power. For more on Toles and every Rays pick in this year’s draft, please check out our Rays 2012 Draft Profiles page here at RCG.