Rays recall Zobrist, option Gomes to Triple-A

Updated: August 5, 2008, 6:58 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays recalled shortstop Ben Zobrist from Triple-A Durham and optioned designated hitter-outfielder Jonny Gomes to the International League club on Tuesday.

Zobrist played 23 games earlier this season with Tampa Bay, hitting .230 with five homers and eight RBIs. He was in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against Cleveland.

"I'm feeling comfortable at the plate," said Zobrist, who hit .541 in his last 11 games at Durham. "Seeing the ball better."

Rays starting shortstop Jason Bartlett was out of the lineup for the second straight game Tuesday with an injured right index finger. Bartlett's replacement Monday night, Willy Aybar, experienced leg cramps during the game.

Bartlett worked out at short and took batting practice Tuesday, but will likely not start on Wednesday. He is available off the bench.

"The swelling is down," Bartlett said. "It's a lot better than yesterday."

Also out of the lineup for the second consecutive game was left fielder Carl Crawford, who has a sore left hamstring. He is not expected to play Wednesday.

"It's a solid chance we'll probably wait until Thursday," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Gomes hit .182 with eight homers and 19 RBIs in 69 games. He struck out 40 times in 143 at-bats.

"It's definitely a bummer," Gomes said. "No matter where I go, I just want to play baseball. I wish the team the best of luck. I'm going to go down there and sharpen my tools as a big league ballplayer."

Gomes joked he was going to wear No. 99 at Durham. That is the uniform number Manny Ramirez picked after he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers following a trade from the Boston Red Sox.

Outfielder Rocco Baldelli, sidelined with chronic muscle fatigue, met with team officials and worked out with the Rays for the second consecutive day. A decision on when Baldelli could be activated has been pushed back because of the Rays' rash of injuries.

"A lot of it is based on what's going on right now," Maddon said.

Baldelli will accompany the team on a road trip after Wednesday's game.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press