Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett a DL candidate
Manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that it’s a “50-50 proposition” whether shortstop Jason Bartlett will land on the disabled list because of right hamstring soreness. Bartlett has been slumping and was recently dropped from first to last in Tampa Bay’s lineup, so a break might not be the worst thing. He’s hitting just .231/.327/.330 this season after posting what might go down as his career year in 2009, when he finished at .320/.389/.490 in 500 at-bats. Filling in for Bartlett during his absence will be Reid Brignac. The 24-year-old Brignac was long considered the Rays’ shortstop of the future, but that began to change with another somewhat disappointing campaign in Triple-A last year and Bartlett’s big season. Brignac, though, has hit an impressive .306/.364/.454 in 108 at-bats as a part-time player for the Rays this year. Moving Brignac from second base, where he’s been getting a lot of time of late, to shortstop, still opens up a hole in the lineup, though. The Rays would have the option of going with Ben Zobrist regularly at second base, creating room in the outfield for top prospect Desmond Jennings. However, Jennings, who missed the start of the year with a wrist injury, is hitting just .245/.343/.319 in 30 games for Triple-A Durham. Instead, the Rays would probably mix and match Gabe Kapler and Sean Rodriguez between right field and second base for a little while. Veteran utilityman Joe Dillon would be one candidate to replace Bartlett on the roster.