Rays Roundup: Defense Has Been Disappointing

In this edition of Rays Roundup: After being a strong-suit of the club in year's past, this year's Rays' team has been disappointing defensively, INF Drew Sutton is traded twice on Sunday and ends up on the Rays roster on Monday, Jeff Keppinger is the latest Ray to hit the disabled list and Hideki Matsui walks-off the Bulls in Durham.

INSIDE PITCH

Defense has been a disappointment

The Rays' starting pitching was off for the first few weeks of the season before hitting the top-level stride the team expected.

The bullpen has gone through the usual ups and downs, and given the season-long absence of Kyle Farnsworth, has actually fared well.

The offense, with B.J. Upton missing the first two weeks and Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings among those currently sidelined, has been expectedly sporadic.

However, one of the biggest surprises, and disappointments, of the Rays' season thus far has been uncharacteristically shaky defense.

That was the case again Monday, as the Rays made three errors in a 6-2 loss to the Jays. Blue Infielders Sean Rodriguez and Will Rhymes each made one, as did reliever Burke Badenhop.

Overall, the Rays have made 38, second most in the American League, in 43 games, including a team-record-tying five in the May 12 game at Baltimore.

Last year, the Rays committed a big-league-low 73 errors for the season, and 85 the season before that.


NOTES, QUOTES

Sutton joins Rays after two-trade day

--INF Drew Sutton capped a bizarre 24 hours when he joined the Rays on Monday afternoon, having been traded twice Sunday, from the Braves (where he was with Class AAA Gwinnett, playing in Rochester, N.Y.) to the Pirates (who planned to have him play for Class AAA Indianapolis at Class AAA Buffalo) to the Rays. "It was a really good surprise," Sutton said, smiling. "It's exciting. It's a very wide range of emotions for about four hours, a lot of different phone calls." Sutton, 28, has played all four infield spots and said he is most comfortable at second. He hit .270/.374/.372 in 38 games for Gwinnett this season.

--INF Jeff Keppinger became the 10th Rays player on the disabled list. He is sidelined due to a freak injury, as he was hit on the right foot by a ball while watching Saturday's game and sustained a broken right big toe.

--LHP John Gaub, claimed off waivers from the Cubs earlier this season, was designated for assignment as the Rays created room on the 40-man roster for INF Drew Sutton. Gaub was 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 16 middle-relief appearances for the Rays' Class AAA Durham affiliate.

--DH/OF Hideki Matsui delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning for Class AAA Durham on Monday, and Rays manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he and executive VP Andrew Friedman are monitoring the veteran slugger's progress more closely. The Rays are expected to call him up when he is deemed ready. Matsui, 37, is 4-for-26 (.154) with four RBI through seven games with Durham.

--LHP Matt Moore starts Tuesday against the Blue Jays confident he is close to regaining the form he showed at the end of last season. He had a strong finish to his last start, retiring his last 10 batters. "From a confidence standpoint, it did make me feel like when the bleeding started, I was able to stop it," he said. "We had a shot for at least awhile, and it didn't downward spiral out of control like it could have."

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Rays players on the disabled list, tying the team record last set in 1999.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a lot better than Buffalo." -- New Rays INF Drew Sutton, on being in the majors in St. Petersburg than with Class AAA Indianapolis playing in upstate New York.


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