5/27/2014 8:10 P.M. ET
Rays promote Solis for depth behind the plate
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Ali Solis remembers John Gibbons calling him into his office back in September 2012. Then the manager of Double-A San Antonio, Gibbons, who now manages the Blue Jays, had some encouraging words for the young catcher.
"He brought me into his office and told me, 'You're doing good, and I think you could be a big league catcher,' and stuff like that," recalled a smiling Solis, who was recalled by the Rays on Tuesday after the club optioned pitcher Alex Colome to Triple-A Durham.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays moved Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.
"[Gibbons] asked me if I thought I could be a Major League catcher, and I told him, 'Of course, I want to be a big leaguer. I'm working my butt off to get there,'" said Solis.
But Gibbons was holding back. What he hadn't told Solis is that he'd already been called up to the Padres. He was toying with him, all in good humor, of course.
So off Solis went for his first crack at Major League Baseball, which included a grand total of five games with San Diego, where he made four plate appearances.
He hasn't been back to the big leagues since, but with Ryan Hanigan nursing a sore right hamstring, the 26-year-old should see some playing time this week. And for the time being, the addition of Solis gives the Rays three catchers.
"He's not here just to take up space," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "He's going to play. He might start [Wednesday], but we'll see."
Solis signed a Minor League deal with the Rays in the offseason. In 29 games with Durham so far this season, he's hitting .186 (19-for-102). Solis identifies primarily as a defensive catcher, and it's a part of his game he tirelessly works on, he said.
Trying to avoid DL, Hanigan rests hamstring
TORONTO -- Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan did not start on Tuesday against the Blue Jays after leaving the previous game with soreness in his right hamstring.
Hanigan was still available to pinch-hit, but the Rays will give him at least a few days off from catching duties to see if the ailment clears up with treatment. The team recalled Ali Solis on Tuesday, which provides some insurance behind the plate. Jose Molina started in the second game of the three-game set in Toronto.
The same hamstring caused the 33-year-old to miss three games on the team's last road trip, and it forced him from Monday's game in the sixth inning.
"It's kind of been a problem," said Hanigan, who's hitting .212 with three homers and 22 RBIs. "It's been a little sore. I'm trying to deal with it, but I don't know what we're going to do about it. We're trying to do treatment, but it's grabbing a little bit, cramping a little bit."
With Molina and Solis set to handle starting catcher's duties the next two games, and the team's day off on Thursday, Hanigan hopes there's enough downtime in the days ahead to avoid going on the 15-day disabled list.
Manger Joe Maddon would like to avoid that, too, although "it's not impossible," he said.
"It's not getting much better, but it's not getting much worse," said Maddon. "You could see his movement hindered a bit. My biggest thing is compensating for it, where you end up hurting something else because you're trying to protect [the injury]."
Maddon said having Hanigan out of the lineup for any extended period would be a loss for the Rays.
"He's been a big part of the team the past few years, and will be a big part for the next couple of years," he said. "There's nothing not to like about this guy."
• Injured Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist missed his rehab assignment on Tuesday because of a stomach illness. The 33-year-old, who's on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated thumb, is expected to play for Class A Advanced Port Charlotte on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon said.
Despite missing Tuesday, his rehab is still on schedule and he's expected to rejoin the team on Friday.
"We have a day off Wednesday that should be filled with him playing [a rehab game]. He did hit against velocity [Tuesday]," said Maddon. "They brought a machine out on high [speed] and he did well with that. He's going to play [Wednesday] at second base."
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.