10:02 am: The Rays are also placing Ji-Man Choi on the injured list due to loose bodies in his elbow, per Solondz. The move is retroactive to April 28. Isaac Paredes is being recalled to take his place on the roster.
Losing Choi is certainly a blow to the club, as he’s off to an incredible start to the year. After 53 plate appearances, he’s slashing .357/.491/.595, good enough for a wRC+ of 226. No timeline has been given for his absence.
Paredes, along with a draft pick, was the return the Rays received for sending Austin Meadows to the Tigers. Just 23 years old, Paredes already has 57 games of MLB experience. He hasn’t done much in that time, hitting .215/.290/.302. However, he’s done much better in the minors, including this year. In 19 Triple-A games this season, he’s hitting .270/.356/.500, 125 wRC+. He’s split his time between third and second base this year, giving the Rays another versatile infield option, alongside Yandy Diaz and Taylor Walls. With Choi out, Diaz could get the bulk of first base playing time, with Walls and Paredes taking starts at third or coming off the bench.
9:32 am: The Rays have selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Robert Dugger, reports team broadcaster Neil Solondz. Fellow righty Javy Guerra has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
Once he gets into a game, this will be the fourth straight season of MLB action for Dugger. He made his debut with the Marlins in 2019 and pitched for them again in 2020, before spending 2021 with the Mariners. He hasn’t had much success in the majors so far, throwing 70 2/3 innings with a 7.39 ERA, 14.4% strikeout rate, 9.6% walk rate and 36.1% ground ball rate.
He’s off to a decent start this year, making five starts for the Triple-A Durham Bulls. He’s only thrown 16 innings over those five starts, but with gradual lengthening, throwing two innings, then three innings twice and four innings twice. He has a 3.94 ERA, 19.1% strikeout rate and 10.3% walk rate. The Rays currently have ten pitchers on the injured list, putting a strain on the remaining members of the staff. Furthermore, MLB rosters are going to be shrinking from 28 to 26 tomorrow, with all teams limited by a 14-pitcher maximum. The Rays currently have 15 arms on their active roster, meaning the staff will have to be squeezed after today’s game. Dugger’s ability to cover multiple innings could be valuable in taking a load off some of his teammates. He is out of options, however, meaning he will have to be exposed to waivers if the club continues its usual roster churn and needs another fresh arm down the line.
Guerra, also 26, spent his entire big league career with the Padres until being acquired by the Rays a couple of weeks ago. In 7 1/3 innings this year between the two clubs, he has an unfortunate 11.05 ERA in that small sample size. He doesn’t have a ton of innings on his record overall, as he was a shortstop prospect that switched to pitching in 2019. Also out of options, he’ll likely head onto the waiver wire in the coming days and see if another team gives him a shot. Despite the lack of results so far, he can hit triple digits on the radar gun, which could be enough for some team to take a shot at harnessing that weapon.