The Rays have placed infielder Yandy Diaz on the COVID-related injury list, according to team broadcaster Neil Solondz (Twitter link). Infielder Vidal Brujan has been called up from Triple-A to take Diaz’s spot on the active roster — earlier today, The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported that Brujan would at least be joining the Rays’ taxi squad.
Diaz is showing symptoms but there hasn’t been any word about a positive COVID test, so it is possible the IL placement is simply for precautionary reasons. If so, Diaz could be back within a couple of days’ time as long as he continues to test negative for the coronavirus. The veteran infielder has been an on-base machine early in the season, hitting .275/.383/.325 over his first 47 plate appearances of the 2022 campaign.
While Diaz is out, the Rays will get another (possibly brief) look at a top prospect. Brujan made his MLB debut last season but in limited fashion, appearing in only 10 games and delivering only two hits over 26 plate appearances. Brujan also received his first taste of Triple-A ball last season and performed much better, hitting .262/.346/.440 with 12 home runs over 441 PA, while also stealing 44 bases from 52 chances.
Some knee issues have limited Brujan to just five Triple-A games thus far in 2022, and he has split time as a third baseman and a shortstop. Originally seen as a shortstop candidate, Brujan has most recently seen action at multiple positions in the infield and outfield given that Wander Franco has Tampa Bay’s shortstop position locked up for the foreseeable future. It stands to reason that Brujan will focus on third base for now if he is to serve as Diaz’s short-term replacement, but his eventual position at the MLB level remains to be seen (assuming he doesn’t evolve into a super-utility type).