ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Outfielder Brandon Guyer is back with the Tampa Bay Rays, but outfielder David DeJesus has been added to the disabled list with a left hand fracture.
Guyer, recovering from a fractured left thumb, was reinstated after hitting .400 (8 for 20) with one RBI in five games with Triple-A Durham since being placed on the disabled list May 26. On Thursday, before the Rays’ series opener against the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field, he was listed sixth in the batting order as the Rays’ starter in left field.
"The first couple games were interesting — the timing and everything, just picking up on all the pitches and everything," Guyer said of his rehab starts. "But after I saw some more pitches and got into my groove, I started playing the way I know I can. Hopefully, I can just bring that up here and try to help the team win."
Rays manager Joe Maddon had praised Guyer’s impact before the young player’s absence. Guyer had hit .262 with one home run and six RBI in 28 games before his injury.
DeJesus, meanwhile, will be out of the lineup indefinitely. He sustained an avulsion fracture, which occurs when part of the bone attached to a ligament or tendon tears away from the main part of the bone, in his last swing when striking out against Baltimore Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Rays have had plenty of experience with hand injuries this season. In addition to Guyer and DeJesus, second baseman Ben Zobrist (thumb) and outfielder Wil Myers (wrist) have landed on the disabled list with hand trouble.
"I’m surprised," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of DeJesus’ injury. "We’ve had some awkward injuries this year. … He normally works a really good at-bat, and he has been hitting the ball hard. So it definitely bites a little bit in a sense. But we have Guyer back, and now we’ll see if Brandon is able to pick that up."
DeJesus said he felt pain after the swing but returned to the field for the eighth. However, Matt Joyce moved to left field to replace DeJesus to begin the ninth.
"I think it was in the swing," DeJesus said. "Nothing was really wrong. I went into the fence the day before (in left field), but I hit my right hand against it, and my left hand had nothing to do with it. So it was just one of those things — it can happen at any moment. So it’s unfortunate, like I said. But you’ve just got to keep looking forward."
The injury occurred between DeJesus’ middle finger and ring finger on his left hand. He was wearing a gutter splint Thursday afternoon in the Rays clubhouse, and he’s expected to wear a different split starting soon for about three weeks until he can be re-evaluated. No hard cast will be required. He’s expected to visit Dr. Douglas Carlan, a noted hand specialist and a consultant in the area for the Rays.
DeJesus said he’ll return sometime this season, though his timetable is uncertain. He has hit .269 with five home runs and 17 RBI this year.
"I knew something was up, because it was so tender to touch," DeJesus said. "When things are touch-sensitive, I think that’s when you know something is up. So I was expecting something. But I wasn’t expecting this avulsion fracture."
MADDON APPRECIATES ACCOUNTABILITY
Maddon found positives in the accountability shown by Zobrist and third baseman Evan Longoria after the loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. Zobrist made a costly fielding error in the top of the fifth that led to one run, and Longoria made an inning-ending base-running blunder from second base in the bottom of the sixth thinking that there were two outs when there was one.
"There’s a high level of accountability while this is all going on," Maddon said, "and I really appreciate that."
Maddon, forever the optimist, is pleased with signs that suggest to him that his team remains engaged despite a 28-45 record and a 13-game deficit behind the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays.
Spring-training-like drills, which debuted before Tuesday’s game against the Orioles, returned to Tropicana Field on Thursday in an attempt to sharpen the Rays’ focus. Maddon said those drills will be held again Friday.
"Watch the work, and the work’s great," Maddon said. "Two of the last three days, we’ve come out for early work, and guys who have been playing in the big leagues for several years have been outstanding. That, to me, is what I’m looking at. How do you approach all that? It was sincere. It was good. … There’s not a whole lot of undercurrent, as I can perceive it, in a negative way. So that tells me that the guys are still involved, they’re actively involved, mentally involved."
— Maddon was unable to give a definitive answer about right-hander Jeremy Hellickson’s next rehab start. Hellickson is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three rehab appearances during his recovery from late January arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow. On Wednesday, Hellickson understood he still needed work.
"The velo is there, but there’s not that extra life at the end," Hellickson said. "And the changeup is not very good right now either. So those are pretty much what I rely on — fastball location and my changeup. I guess a positive to it is my curveball feels good."
— Remember Bobby Henry, the 77-year-old Seminole medicine man invited to Tropicana Field to work his methods on June 9? Maddon said Henry returned to the dome Sunday, while the Rays were closing a series in Houston, and identified an area of concern. Rest assured, the situation has been addressed.
"Let’s see how it plays out," Maddon said.
— The no-hitter dramatics of Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night impressed Rays left-hander David Price. Kershaw struck out 15 in 107 pitches in the victory over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Price, who starts Friday against the Astros, considers Kershaw must-see television.
"I didn’t know that happened until a little while ago when I came to the field," Price said Thursday of Kershaw’s no-hitter. "But that’s impressive, man. That’s awesome. … It’s not something I really do away from the field — watch a lot of baseball. But if he’s on, I’d watch that."