The Tampa Bay Rays have struggled with injuries this year, and they got more bad news when outfielder Wil Myers was forced to be put on the DL prior to Sunday’s game. The injury is to his wrist, and was suffered during Friday’s game against the Boston Red Sox in a collision with Desmond Jennings. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but one positive sign could be that the Rays gave Myers a day to rest it and see how it responded before officially putting him on the DL. In his place, OF/1B/DH Jerry Sands has been called up from Triple-A Durham.
You would think that Myers’ absence would be a huge hit to the lineup, but that is not the case. Myers has been the epitome of the Rays offensive struggles, as he has hit just .227/.323/.354 and has thrown away at-bats way too often. This is following up a rookie of the year season in which he hit .293/.354/.478. Of course, you’d rather see Myers in the lineup everyday to try to work out his issues rather than going on the DL for any period of time. He is still a talented player and will be a key part of the Rays lineup for years to come, but it has been tough to watch him struggle so much this year.
Sands meanwhile has been one of Durham’s best, and most consistent hitters this season. The 26-year old is hitting .268/.352/.474 on the year, including 9 long balls, and is a .275/.364/.522 career hitter in the minor leagues. He hasn’t put up near those power numbers in 70 career big league games, but his .244/.325/.376 (96 OPS+) is decent enough. Sands came over to the Rays via waiver claim this offseason, and the club quickly sent him back through waivers, which he cleared, because a 40-man roster spot was needed. To make room for him on the 40-man this time around, infielder Tim Beckham was moved to the 60-day DL. Sands will be hitting cleanup as the DH today against the Red Sox. While he is around with the big league club, he figures to see most of his time at DH and the corner outfield, with a spot start at first base possible as well.
Losing Wil Myers isn’t ideal, even given his struggles, but Sands should be more than capable of filling in while he is out. On a more positive note, Yunel Escobar is back in the lineup Sunday after missing Saturday’s game with a tight quad*. Ali Solis is not in the lineup, but he is still on the roster after getting hit in the face with a ball that deflected off A.J. Pierzynski. So it appears the Rays have avoided two more blows to the roster. Even so, the injury bug continues to bite the Rays. Let’s just hope that this will be the last one for a while.
*Update: The Rays released a new lineup and Esocbar is now not in it after originally being slated to play.