Devil Rays Inside Pitch

Already thin at catcher, the Rays on Monday placed backup Shawn Riggans on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis and promoted journeyman Raul Casanova from Class AAA Durham to replace him. In better news, Andy Sonnanstine will make the first start of his big league career on Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.


Already thin at catcher, the Rays on Monday placed backup Shawn Riggans on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis and promoted journeyman Raul Casanova from Class AAA Durham to replace him.

The Rays recalled Riggans on Thursday when Josh Paul landed on the DL with a left elbow strain. Riggans was just coming off the DL at Durham with a right elbow bruise.

"I was on a good path, starting to feel good," Riggans said. "You just can't go out there and play 50 percent and think things are going to go well for you. It doesn't help the team, so I need to go (on the DL) and get my arm right."

Casanova is the fourth catcher on the Rays' depth chart and the idea that he would be in a major-league uniform in June would have been a far-fetched thought during spring training. With Paul still out for at least a month and the severity of Riggans' injury uncertain, it will likely put a heavier workload on starter Dioner Navarro, who is batting just .190.

Casanova, 34, hasn't played in the majors extensively since a 31-game stint with the Brewers in 2002. He was hitting .258 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 29 games at Durham. To clear room on the 40-man roster, the team designated LHP Chris Seddon for assignment.

RAYS 4, ROYALS 2: Rays' starter James Shields took a two-hitter into the eighth inning, and then received help from his bullpen in that inning before Al Reyes closed the door on the Royals with his 14th save in as many chances. Carlos Pena was 3-for-3 with two doubles and his team-high 12th homer. Carl Crawford hit a two-out triple in the eighth, his 870th hit to tie Aubrey Huff's all-time franchise record. NOTES, QUOTES

--Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, who is 11-0 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts for the Commodores and has 192 strikeouts and just 31 walks, has a very favorable opinion of the Rays, who are expected to draft him first overall on Thursday.

"It's a matter of time before they really, really start competing for pennants," Price said. "They are going to have a great team. They have leaders like Scott Kazmir and Carl Crawford leading the crop of obviously young, great players. With leaders like that on the mound and in the outfield for you, it's going to make it a lot easier and a lot (more fun) to play."

--Rays RHP Andy Sonnanstine, who makes his major-league debut Tuesday night in Toronto against Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, said watching J.P. Howell's performance in his first Rays start of the season gave him a boost in confidence.

"I'm going to try not to change anything," Sonnanstine said. "A lot of people told me to be myself, so hopefully I can stay in my game and put on a performance as well as J.P. did."

Howell beat the Royals in his first start Sunday.

-- Manager Joe Maddon said injured 3B Akinori Iwamura (bruised left eye) won't travel to Toronto and will likely rejoin the Rays for a three-game series at the Marlins starting Friday. Iwamura was hit in the eye by a ball that bounced off the turf and into his face.

-- With J.P Howell (24) and Andy Sonnanstine (25) joining James Shields (25), Edwin Jackson (23) and Scott Kazmir (23), the Rays have the youngest A.L. rotation since the 2003 Indians (Jake Westbrook, 25; Cliff Lee, 25; Billy Traber, 23; Jason Davis, 23; and C.C. Sabathia, 23).

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Players on the current 25-man roster with less than 3 years of major league experience.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a bit frustrating because you know how good he can be." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon on enigmatic starter Edwin Jackson, who is 0-7, 7.77.



C Shawn Riggans (right elbow tendinitis) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 4.

3B Akinori Iwamura (blurred vision) will be out until at least June 7 after getting a foul pop-up in the eye on June 2. The team will decide June 4 if Iwamura will accompany the team for their series in Toronto, which begins June 5.

C Josh Paul (left elbow ligament sprain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 20 and might miss two months.

CF Rocco Baldelli (left hamstring strain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 16. He should return in early June. RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.

RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.

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