Cole Figueroa Replaces Jerry Sands On Tampa Bay Rays’ Roster

By Drew Jenkins

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Rays received more bad news on the injury front. This time it was Jerry Sands, who has a wrist injury that will keep him out for multiple weeks and could end up requiring surgery. The news was found out too late, so the Rays made no corresponding roster move yesterday. But now, infielder Cole Figueroa has been recalled to replace Sands on the Rays roster as Sands hits the 15-day DL.

Sands has been primarily been playing DH for the Rays, so no big gap at any position was opened up. Thus, the Rays could call upon any player they wanted, and they picked Figueroa. It is the second stint this season in the big leagues for the 26-year old infielder. Being called-up earlier in the season when Ben Zobrist went on the DL, Figueroa put up a .250/.250/.333 line in 7 games, serving primarily as a platoon bat at second base against right-handers. Those numbers in a small sample size weren’t impressive, but in 54 games at Triple-A this season he has put up a great .300/.385/.420 line. He isn’t likely to put up such a line in the majors, but he should be able to hit for contact and draw his fair share of walks, especially against right-handers. This time around Figueroa isn’t going to see time at just one position. More than likely, he will see time at second and third, with shortstop and left field also possibilities. He can be used to allow players like Evan Longoria and Zobrist to take half days-off as a DH. Also, when he is not in the starting lineup, Figueroa can be used as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner later in games. All-in-all, he should be a useful player for as long as he is in the majors.

It is a shame to see Sands hurt. The 26-year old has never been able to establish himself in the big leagues despite monster Triple-A numbers, and it looks like that will continue. Sands was hitting just .190/.227/.333 in 22 big league plate appearances this year, though 2 of his 4 hits would drive in the go-ahead run in two separate games. Sands’ future with the Rays is now a bit up in the air. He is out of options next season, and the injury gives him fewer chances to prove himself a valuable player to the Rays. Regardless, the Rays just want Sands to get healthy first and they will worry about his long-term future with the club later.

It is no doubt that the Tampa Bay Rays are losing so many games because of multiple player’s struggles, but injuries have also derailed their season. After prior injuries to Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers, David DeJesus, and more, the Rays took another hit with Jerry Sands’ injury, though they do have a solid replacement in Cole Figueroa. Let’s just hope this is the last injury that the Rays have to deal with for a while.