3:09pm: Tampa Bay has placed catcher Adam Moore on the restricted list because of “improper documentation” with his passport, freeing up a 40-man spot, Topkin tweets. The Rays are in Canada through Wednesday for a series against the Blue Jays.
12:08pm: The Rays have promoted catcher Nick Ciuffo from Triple-A Durham and reinstated outfielder Mallex Smith from the 10-day disabled list, Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times reports (Twitter links). The team will need to make a corresponding 40-man move to create room for Ciuffo.
A Ray since they used the 21st overall pick on him in 2013, Ciuffo currently ranks as their 25th-best prospect at MLB.com, which is especially complimentary of his defense. The 23-year-old’s so good behind the plate that he won’t need to hit much in order to become at least a major league backup, according to MLB.com. Ciuffo posted slightly below-average offensive numbers this year at Durham, where he hit .262/.301/.380 (90 wRC+) with five home runs in 236 plate appearances.
While Ciuffo looks promising on the field, he does come with some negative off-field history. Ciuffo has tested positive for a drug of abuse on two occasions, including last offseason. The latest occurrence led to a 50-game suspension which kept Ciuffo out of action for the first several weeks of the campaign. Now, Ciuffo may be in position to vie for a spot on next year’s Rays roster, given that their other options don’t inspire a ton of confidence.
Smith, barring a trade, has already clinched a prominent spot on the 2019 Rays. The 25-year-old had been dealing with a viral infection, one that required a short stay in a Tampa Bay hospital, but has otherwise enjoyed an excellent season. Smith has slashed .307/.377/.433 (126 wRC+) with 27 stolen bases and 3.1 fWAR over a career-high 426 PAs.