NEW YORK -- The Rays' catchers have not exactly been the backbone of the club's offense this season -- entering Saturday, the unit accounted for just eight home runs and 50 RBIs -- but a September callup has given the team a late boost at the position.
Chris Gimenez, who had two doubles in Friday night's 6-4 win over the Yankees after recording just one extra-base hit all season, has caught the attention of manager Joe Maddon and figures to be in the lineup a bit more, particularly against left-handed pitchers.
"If you look at what he did against left-handers, particularly at Triple-A this year, that was what really stood out," Maddon said. "And he's hit the lefties well since he's been back. I guess it could be a little bit above and beyond, but he did do well in Triple-A."
Gimenez hit .310 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs in 71 games with Triple-A Durham and is hitting .340 with four RBIs against lefties in the big leagues this season. He's batting just .086 against righties.
Gimenez came through on Friday, doubling off lefties CC Sabathia and Clay Rapada.
"I felt good," Gimenez said. "I'll take it any way I can get it. It's nice just to feel it on the barrel and let them know you can still do that every once in a while."
Rays activate Rodriguez for multi-purpose role
NEW YORK -- The Rays activated Sean Rodriguez from the disabled list before Saturday's game against the Yankees, giving manager Joe Maddon his first opportunity to use the infielder since Aug. 20.
Rodriguez has appeared in games at second base, third base, shortstop and as a designated hitter and pinch-hitter for the Rays this season but was sent down to Triple-A Durham in late August. He subsequently fractured his right hand after punching a locker, and instead of rejoining the Rays shortly after being sent down, as planned, Rodriguez had to sit out a few weeks.
Maddon said on Saturday that he expects to use Rodriguez in a variety of roles, though hitting may be touch-and-go at the onset.
"All kinds of stuff; offense, defense, baserunning -- everything, pretty much," Maddon said of Rodriguez's capabilities. "If we put him up there, I want him to be able to swing also. So if he tells me he can swing, then he can go up there."
For now, Maddon said, Rodriguez -- batting .215 with six homers and 32 RBIs in 106 games this season -- will likely be used in late-game situations.
"He'd come in as a defensive replacement, pinch-runner -- that kind of stuff," Maddon said.
Maddon announced his starting pitchers for the first two games of next week's series against the Red Sox, saying that right-hander Alex Cobb will get the nod on Monday and Jeremy Hellickson will start on Tuesday. Second baseman Ryan Roberts, who had been out since Thursday with a bruised left shin, was back in the starting lineup on Saturday, batting seventh. When asked why his team has performed so well against the Yankees this season -- the Rays entered Saturday leading the season series against New York, 10-6 -- Maddon said: "I think one of the things we've done is we've scored some runs. We've pitched well against almost everybody, but there have been some teams we've been able to score runs against and some teams we've not been able to score runs against. The teams we've matched up well with our pitching, we've been a little bit better. I think that's just logical."
The Rays have clinched a third straight winning season against the Yankees.