Rays recall Brignac from Triple-A
Infielder fills roster spot of Bennett; Burrell not in lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays recalled infielder Reid Brignac from Triple-A Durham on Saturday to fill the roster spot vacated by reliever Jeff Bennett, who was optioned down to Durham on Friday night.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that the move is also to add another position player to replace injured designated hitter Pat Burrell, who is day-to-day with neck stiffness.
Burrell left Friday's game in the fourth inning and is not in the starting lineup for Saturday. Maddon said Burrell could be ready to pinch-hit on Sunday and is expected to be back in the lineup for Tuesday's game. There were no medical tests done on his neck, which appeared to be slightly better on Saturday.
Burrell missed 29 games earlier this season with a strained neck. However, his most recent flare-up is far less severe.
"It's not an awful thing like last time, where he had all kinds of things locked up and he felt from head down to his arm," Maddon said. "He's not getting that sensation this time."
Maddon said he noticed after Burrell's second strikeout on Friday that the slugger wasn't turning his head easily in the dugout. Burrell said it felt uncomfortable and was taken out of the game.
"It just kind of grabbed me yesterday," Burrell said. "And having been through this the first time, I don't want it to get to the point where I have to miss any length of time. I think the best thing to do is rest for a day or so, and then move forward."
Willy Aybar will start at designated hitter against the Blue Jays on Saturday. The move to call up Brignac, Maddon said, will likely be only short-term, assuming Burrell is healthy by early next week.
Brignac is expected to be in uniform for Saturday's game.
"We've got to get Reid up here to bolster the bench a little bit," Maddon said. "With the bench being so limited, we needed somebody else to play the infield possibly, too. So that's why we did it."
And despite previous reports, Tampa Bay has not activated reliever Chad Bradford off the 15-day disabled list. Bradford, who is close to returning from a lower back strain, remains on the DL with a lower back strain. But Bradford said that he is healthy and ready to be activated whenever the Rays' roster permits, which more than likely depends on what happens with Burrell.
"I've had my back-to-back days, I've pitched, and I felt fine after that," Bradford said. "So we'll be ready to roll."
Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.