5/28/2014 8:40 P.M. ET
Rays lineup heating up
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- They might not have as many wins to show for it as they'd like, but the Rays offense appears to have turned a corner in the last week.
Riding a four-game win streak into Toronto, Tampa Bay dropped two in a row despite the fact its bats have shown signs of life.
Over the past six games, the team is averaging more than 10 hits and five runs, getting contributions throughout the lineup.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said after rejiggering the batting order, the team seems to be taking a more aggressive approach at the plate.
"A little more aggressive, a little more, 'Let it roll,'" Maddon said. "Don't be so careful up there. We've been hitting the ball harder. We've got [Evan] Longoria in the No. 2, [Desmond] Jennings in the No. 4. Sometimes when you step outside your normal sphere, you think a little different, and maybe that peps you up a bit."
Longoria has been hitting .333 (11-for-33) since moving to the No. 2 spot in the order six games ago, while Jennings has fared well in a cleanup role the past two games.
The team has also seen some timely hitting from Sean Rodriguez, who came off the bench to hit two key pinch-hit home runs in the past week, including a three-run walk-off homer in the 11th inning against the A's on Thursday.
He was 2-for-3 with three RBIs against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
"Sean Rod' is growing up as a Major League Baseball player," Maddon said. "He's hitting the ball hard, you can put him on defense anywhere. He's involved, engaged, and I'm really happy for him."
And with Ben Zobrist due back on Friday, Maddon is confident his team's bats will only continue to improve as the year goes on.
"There have been a couple of games we've scored runs ... but we didn't take advantage of it," he said. "But if it continues to go this way, we will start picking up some of those games. So many guys here are not yet to the top of their games, but they're gonna be. I'm really excited about it."
Strained hammy lands Hanigan on DL
TORONTO -- He was hoping against it, but the strained right hamstring that has been bothering Ryan Hanigan has landed him on the 15-day disabled list.
The Rays' catcher left Monday's game against the Blue Jays when the hammy tightened up, and he was on the bench yesterday as the team lost its second straight in the Toronto.
The writing was on the wall that it might come to this, as Tampa Bay recalled catcher Ali Solis on Tuesday, giving the team three possible bodies behind the plate.
Hanigan said Wednesday that he's confident recovering from the injury won't take any longer than the minimum 15 days he needs to spend on the DL.
"It's tough," he said. "It's just not getting better right now, and we think it's the best thing for it. But you make a move like this, and get it healthy and be ready to go in that 15 days."
The same hamstring caused Hanigan to miss three games on the team's previous road trip. The 33-year-old said he doesn't believe there's a muscle tear, but he could go for an MRI once the team returns home from its current eight-game road trip.
Hanigan is hitting .212 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 42 games this season. Jose Molina started behind the plate Tuesday, but it's expected that Solis will see playing time while on recall.
Hanigan said he plans to take the next three or four days to undergo treatment and rest the leg. After a week, he's hoping he'll be able to commence strength training.
"It's really all speculative right now, but that's the plan and I'm very optimistic," he said. "It's just a lingering thing right now."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said Molina will likely draw the starts behind the plate for the rest of the week, considering he has plenty of experience catching in the American League East. The Rays head to Boston for a three-game series against the Red Sox after an off-day on Thursday.
"I'll look at it as we move further along," he said.
Kiermaier joins Rays in Toronto
TORONTO -- Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. The move was necessary after the Rays placed catcher Ryan Hanigan and outfielder Brandon Guyer on the 15-day disabled this week.
The promotion marks the third time Kiermaier has been with the big club this season. He was up for two days in April, and five so far in May. In five games with the Rays this season, he's 3-for-12 with a home run.
Kiermaier didn't get the news that he'd been called up until an hour after his game in Toledo last night. Lucky for him, he was carrying his passport -- a necessary travel document when flying to Canada.
"They always tell you to keep it on you, because you never know when you're going to be called up," he said. "I didn't get a lot of sleep. I was up early, but I'm here and I'm happy."
The 24-year-old is hitting .305 with three home runs, 13 RBIs and 11 stolen bases with Durham so far this season.
While the duration of his callup is unknown, Kiermaier hopes he's around long enough to demonstrate his full range of capabilities.
"It's the wrong reason to get called up, but someone has to play that part, and I'm here to do whatever I can to help the team," he said. "The more time you're up here, the more you can show what you have."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that while he wasn't in the starting lineup, Kiermaier is a viable defensive substitute on Wednesday. But with Ben Zobrist due back from the DL on Friday, it's difficult to know how long his stay with the team will be.
"He's shown himself very well here," Maddon said. "He's really an exceptional outfielder. His stay could be longer than normal."
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.