The Rays sent right fielder Steven Souza to the 15-day disabled list yesterday due to a strained muscle in his left hip, as MLB.com’s Sam Blum writes. Souza sustained the injury on Tuesday when making a diving attempt at a sinking liner off the bat of Nelson Cruz. He came up just shy of making the catch, and upon getting to his feet had difficulty remaining upright, ultimately falling back to the turf after making the throw into the infield. X-rays taken on his hip were negative, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Souza will receive a cortisone injection to help with the pain. Souza’s hope for now, according to Topkin, is that he can return in the minimum two weeks. The 27-year-old Souza is hitting .255/.315/.443 with 10 homers on the season and has played a solid right field this season. In his absence, the Rays have called up Jaff Decker (as seen on their updated depth chart), and he’ll share some of the duties with Mikie Mahtook.
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- In other Rays injury news, injured right-hander Alex Cobb is targeting late July or early August as a return date from 2015 Tommy John surgery, tweets Topkin. That target date would put the 28-year-old on track for a 14- to 15-month recovery from replacement of his ulnar collateral ligament, which took place in early May of 2015. The Rays currently have a full rotation with Chris Archer, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, Drew Smyly and Blake Snell (plus a pair of rotation candidates in the bullpen in Matt Andriese and Erasmo Ramirez), but further injuries or trades could potentially open a spot for Cobb’s return.
- The Blue Jays could find themselves competing against the majority of their own division for pitching help on the summer trade market, writes Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. The Red Sox and Orioles, in particular, need rotation help and could challenge the Jays as they look to fortify their own collection of starters. The fact that right-hander Aaron Sanchez will inevitably move to the bullpen to limit his innings looms large over the Blue Jays, Nicholson-Smith notes, and while that move (plus the return of Brett Cecil) could eliminate a separate need for relief help, the Blue Jays are light on depth in the rotation. Right-hander Drew Hutchison is throwing well at Triple-A and is expected to return to the rotation later this summer, but as Nicholson-Smith points out, any injury to a starter after Hutchison’s return would severely compromise the team’s depth. Veteran lefty Wade LeBlanc is probably the next line of defense, and while he’s throwing brilliantly in Triple-A (1.51 ERA in 83 2/3 innings), his track record in the Majors is fairly limited.
- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski should be fully invested in the 2016 season, even if it means parting with a prized prospect such as outfielder Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers in order to bolster the rotation, opines the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. With David Ortiz’s impending retirement and the brilliant performances from other members of the offense (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Dustin Pedroia), it’s unlikely that the Sox will receive this level of across-the-board domination from their offense again, and the core of their team is controlled long enough that parting with someone such as Benintendi or Devers is manageable, Abraham writes. In addition to seeking an impact rotation arm and a quality setup piece, Abraham feels that a platoon-mate for Chris Young in left field would be a prudent investment. He suggests Jon Jay as a logical target (though clearly not in connection with Benintendi or Devers), and the fit does indeed make sense for Boston.
- Catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart could return to the Red Sox in August, writes the Boston Herald’s Evan Drellich. Dombrowski said that the team’s initial timeline on Swihart was six to eight weeks, and early August would be on the further end of that spectrum. Swihart will be reevaluated in the near future, per Dombrowski, but he didn’t seem to think there was any reason to expect a lengthier absence. Dombrowski played it cool when asked about his left field situation, praising Young’s work at the position and adding that he’s confident the team will have Swihart and Brock Holt back in the mix eventually.
- Orioles righty Darren O’Day, who is currently on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury, offered a fairly vague update on his status on Thursday (links to Twitter via MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko). The Baltimore setup ace is still unsure of when he’ll be able to get back on a mound but conceded that his recovery has been coming along more slowly than he’d expected. O’Day did add that he doesn’t think he’d require more than two rehab appearances to get back up to speed, so when he is able to get back on a mound, his return from that point could be expedited.
- The Yankees aren’t interested in signing Jose Reyes, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Yanks had interest in Reyes following his trade from Toronto to Colorado, but they’re no longer intrigued by the possibility. Reyes was designated for assignment earlier this week and is all but certain to be released by the Rockies.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports profiles one of the more interesting draft stories of the year: Yankees ninth-round pick Tim Lynch. A first baseman out of Southern Mississippi, Lynch was long an avid autograph collector before developing into a legitimate draft prospect. At 14 years of age, needing only Lorenzo Cain’s signature to complete an entire set of Bowman autographs, Lynch picked up a half-dozen donuts and waited for Cain behind the back gate of a minor league stadium, offering him and his teammates a snack in exchange for the completion of the set. Reminded of the exchange by Rosenthal, Cain called it “unreal … crazy, unbelievable” that the donut-wielding autograph collector from nine years ago was drafted by the Yankees. Rosenthal spoke with Lynch about his entire collection, with the 23-year-old senior sign revealing that he’s picked up more than 20,000 signatures in total over the years (100+ from Miguel Cabrera alone) and still hopes to obtain an autograph from Alex Rodriguez now that he’s been drafted by New York.