Every team’s worst nightmare is several injuries happening at the same time. In one unlucky moment, a team can go from feeling great about its depth to making a bevy of roster moves. If you are ever going to struggle through a bunch of injuries, though, you certainly want it to come in spring training and have all of the afflictions be minor. Luckily for the Tampa Bay Rays, we know that it is currently the exhibition season, and nobody appears set to miss too much time.
Brandon Guyer is set to be a major part of the Rays offense against left-handed pitching, but his preparation for that role is on hold for now. Guyer will be out for a few days with what is being described as a “mild strain in his lat/oblique area.” He will be reevaluated in two or three days’ time, and he should be fine before long.
The biggest impact of Guyer’s absence will be the Rays’ defensive alignments for the next few days. With the Rays trying to get Desmond Jennings used to playing left field again, Steven Souza played centerfield today for the Rays and could play the position at least one more time. Guyer will need to get practice playing centerfield later in the spring.
We also do need to mention Guyer’s injury history. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2012, missed a chance for a call-up in 2013 when he was hit in the middle finger with a pitch, and also hit the DL with a thumb fracture last season. Staying healthy has been a problem for Guyer and it is never good to see him suffer another injury. At the very least, though, better to see him miss time in spring training than in the regular season.
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Joining Brandon Guyer on the injury question list are John Jaso and Nick Franklin. Jaso departed from the Rays’ exhibition today after being hit by an A.J. Burnett pitch, but he appears to have only suffered a bruise to his leg. Franklin’s case is a little less cut-and-dry. He appeared to tweak his oblique on a swing and then departed after finishing his at-bat. We will have to wait for his prognosis, but it is a good sign that the Rays let him complete the plate appearance before taking him out.
We may see some more minor leaguers in the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting lineup for a few days, but Guyer and Jaso will be OK and we can also be optimistic about Franklin. Franklin also has the most at stake as he competes for a starting middle infield job with Tim Beckham. The Rays have to hoping for better health moving forward, both for their established big leaguers and the players in the mix for roles.
Update: Here is what Franklin said about his injury.