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The Tampa Bay Rays just can't seem to catch a break with injuries. Jeff Keppinger is the latest to hit the DL after breaking his right big toe on a foul ball that came into the dugout Saturday.
Evan Longoria (slight hamstring tear) and Desmond Jennings (knee sprain), two of the team's biggest offensive contributors, are currently on the shelf; Jennings is expected to be reinstated this weekend.
Will Rhymes (forearm) received a scare last week when he was plunked on the forearm and then fainted after advancing to first base. He was able to avoid a trip to the infirmary, but the team is easing him back into action.
Keppinger has been a nice offseason acquisition for the Rays; he was batting .295 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 88 at-bats in a utility role, although he was seeing more consistent playing time due to the loss of Longoria.
AL-only and deep mixed managers that stashed him early in the year have benefited from his ability to make contact, thus helping in the BA department. Keppinger is best suited to this utility role; he doesn't walk much or strike out very often, and he lacks punch.
Elliot Johnson has been a popular waiver wire addition in the past week due to the injuries in the Tampa infield. He'll be in the lineup on a regular basis, and he's appeared at every infield spot except catcher and first base this year, making him that much more valuable in leagues with corner and middle infield designations.
Johnson excelled at Triple-A Durham in 2010 (.319/.375/.475 with 11 homers in 109 games) but hasn't hit over .200 in his two stints in the bigs before this year. He has the thump to reach double digits in homers and he likes to run (30 stolen bases in the minors in '10, seven this year).
A high average isn't sustainable, though, unless he changes his approach at the dish. Johnson has fanned close to 30 percent of the time for his professional career. Still, he's worth owning for his speed-power combo.
In what amounts to a move to bolster their infield depth, the Rays traded for minor league infielder Drew Sutton yesterday. He's in the starting lineup today, but he won't see much action, especially with Jennings returning soon, which will push Ben Zobrist back into consideration on the infield.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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