The Rays see newly acquired Trevor Plouffe helping them against left-handed pitching, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. He’ll be used to spell Evan Longoria at third base and Logan Morrison at first, and the Rays could also consider using him in the corner outfield spots, manager Kevin Cash tells Topkin. Cash also says the organization had talks with Plouffe last winter before he ultimately signed with the Athletics. “For us to be able to get him here two months, three months, in is a good thing for us,” Cash says. Here’s more from the AL East.
- Chris Davis’ oblique strain could keep him out of the Orioles’ lineup until after the All-Star break, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. This season’s break begins July 10. Davis reports improvement in the injury but says he’s still having trouble moving and sleeping. “I was basically told it’s sensitive,” says Davis. “It’s one of those things you don’t want to rush because if you have a setback, it makes things that much harder.” This isn’t Davis’ first oblique strain — he landed on the disabled list with one in 2014, although that one was on his left side, and his current injury is on his right.
- Red Sox reliever Carson Smith has been shut down for four or five days with a shoulder inflammation, meaning he won’t be able to begin his rehab assignment as planned, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal tweets. Smith had Tommy John surgery last year and hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since last May, so this setback, even if it proves to be a minor one, must be frustrating for him.
- Trades for Smith and another injured reliever, Tyler Thornburg, demonstrate a failure in approach, Evan Drellich of CSNNE.com writes. It’s not the Red Sox’ fault Smith and Thornburg got hurt, but reliever performance tends to be mercurial, and the Red Sox have gotten good results this season from players like Matt Barnes and Robby Scott, for whom they didn’t have to part with significant assets. Of course, as Drellich also notes, the team’s trade for Craig Kimbrel has been a great success thus far.