Rays Notes: Ryan Roberts Acquired, Sam Fuld Returns, Longoria Rehab Soon?

By Robbie Knopf

The big news yesterday was that the Rays acquired infielder Ryan Roberts from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for 2B Tyler Bortnick. For full analysis on the trade, please head here.

The Roberts trade was just the conclusion of what was a great day for the Rays on Tuesday. The day’s first Rays headline was the return of Sam Fuld to the big leagues for his 2012 debut.

So far, so good for Fuld, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, a bunt single, and a stolen base as he looked like he never missed a beat. Fuld is a major catalyst when he’s healthy and in the lineup. He simply makes things happen at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field, and even though he may not be a full-time starter, you can’t underestimate how valuable he will be to the Rays the rest of the season.

In that last tweet, we saw an Evan Longoria mention for the first time in way too long. But here’s a better one.

That being said, Andrew Friedman had this to say on Longoria returning in 2012.

"“It’s something we don’t have a great answer to what’s going on,” Friedman said.  “We’re getting to the point where we’re going to start increasing activity and seeing how it goes.  He’s going to play through some pain, so I think it’s something that going to take unitl the offseason to really address.  I think at the end of this week we’ll have at least a better feel, but there’s no clear cut answer.”"

Even when Longoria returns, it will take time for him to return to 100%, and that may not happen before the season is through. But having Longoria in the lineup in any form would be a major boost for the Rays and we have to hope that his recovery continues to progress and that we see him in the lineup before very long.

Another injury note center around Jeff Niemann.

Nice to see Niemann also starting the road towards recovery, and we’ll have to see what he can contribute to the Rays the rest of the season.

Speaking of injuries, Tampa Bay Online’s Roger Mooney wrote about Rays catcher Robinson Chirinos and his recovery from a concussion. Chirinos is a player who the Rays thought would figure much more prominently in their 2012 plans, and it’s sad to hear how hard his rehab  has been.

And we close with a rumor.

Time to shrug this rumor off. First off, would the Rays really want to negotiate with a team that doesn’t value James Shields as highly as other teams might? And secondly, would the Rays really trade Shields right after acquiring Ryan Roberts, a move that would’t seem to make much sense if they were about to turn around and starting selling? We can’t say anything for sure about B.J. Upton, but pending a shocker of a deal, James Shields will remain with the Rays for the remainder of 2012.