9/1/2014 6:59 P.M. ET
DeJesus headlines list of September callups
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- With MLB rosters expanding Monday, the Rays activated outfielder David DeJesus from the disabled list, recalled catcher Curt Casali from Class A Advanced Charlotte, recalled reliever Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham and selected the contract of reliever Steve Geltz from Durham.
DeJesus had been out of action since June 18 with a fractured left hand. After eight Minor League rehab games in which he went 5-for-22 with four walks, the left-handed-swinging DeJesus was active and starting at designated hitter for Monday's game against the Red Sox.
"I'm happy to be back," DeJesus said. "When you go down, it's always an honor to come back up."
Does he have any goals for September?
"Play. Play the game. I'm not going to put any pressure on myself," DeJesus said. "Every season, you want to finish strong. So that's what I want to do. I want to come out here and have a good end of the season and then come fresh next year. Nothing more than that."
Before he was hurt, the 34-year-old DeJesus was batting .269/.367/.440 in 62 games. He had been one of the team's more productive hitters and was leading the Rays in slugging percentage at the time of his injury.
Casali was with the Rays until about a week ago, when he was optioned to Charlotte to make room for fellow backstop Ryan Hanigan, who was returning from the DL.
The Rays sent Casali to Charlotte as opposed to Triple-A Durham because it allowed them to bring him back up without having to wait the usual 10 days, as Charlotte's season ended Sunday. Casali has now played at the Class A, Double-A, Triple-A and Major League levels this season.
"It is weird. This year in general has been pretty crazy for me," he said. "I wouldn't have it any other way. It builds character, and it's been fun."
Casali is hitting .169/.246/.203 in 23 games with the Rays.
Gomes started the season with the big league club before he was sent down May 19 to work out mechanical issues. The right-hander was recalled Aug. 13 and pitched in one game against the Rangers before heading back to the Minors on Aug. 16.
"I was giving up a lot of hits," Gomes said. "So we looked at video all the way back to the 2009 Fall League, and my mechanics were much more simple than they had been [this year]. I tried to take those into the game, and since then, the ball's been coming out better, and my command's been much, much sharper."
In splitting the season between Tampa Bay and Durham, Gomes has compiled a 2-2 record and 4.50 ERA in 24 innings with the Rays and a 3.62 ERA in 27 appearances for the Bulls.
Geltz was somewhat of an unexpected callup, as the right-hander has made only two appearances in his Major League career, both with the Angels in 2012. Interestingly, both of those outings, which each lasted an inning, were against the Rays.
"I was extremely surprised. Caught off-guard is an understatement," said Geltz, who found out when Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo chased him down from the team bus as it dropped him off at his apartment. He told Montoyo, "Well, this is a mean joke if you're playing a joke."
Geltz was not on the 40-man roster, so his contract had to be selected by the Rays. In the corresponding move Monday, Tampa Bay outrighted catcher Ali Solis to Durham, and Solis accepted his assignment.
Geltz, 26, has gone 3-3 with a 2.38 ERA, 60 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 41 2/3 innings over 29 appearances for Durham this season. He throws a fastball, slider and split-finger. He also received a 50-game suspension in May after testing positive for a drug of abuse in an offseason drug test.
Despite giving up run, Geltz impresses Maddon
ST. PETERSBURG -- September callup Steve Geltz was thrust immediately into the action Monday, making his Rays debut in a 4-3 walk-off win vs. the Red Sox in 10 innings, but things did not go according to plan for the right-hander.
Geltz was brought in with the Rays holding a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, the tying run on second and two outs to face No. 3 hitter Yoenis Cespedes. After running the count full, Cespedes laced a 3-2 slider through the left side for a game-tying single.
"I knew that I like Geltz's stuff," manager Joe Maddon said. "I really thought he could do it."
Geltz came back to strike out Mike Napoli on a 95-mph heater to end the inning, but the Rays had lost the lead.
"He just left the slider up a little bit, but I really liked the way he came back and got Napoli," Maddon said. "So there's a lot of growing going on, a lot of growth moments for the young bullpen guys."
Bringing in Geltz was an interesting decision, though, as Jake McGee, the team's de facto closer, was warmed up and ready to go in the bullpen.
McGee had a 1.31 ERA, 80 strikeouts in 62 innings and 15 saves in 16 opportunities. Geltz had two career innings pitched.
But it was Geltz, who wasn't even on the Rays' 40-man roster until Monday, thrown into the fire. And, well, fire burns. As Cespedes' hit found the hole, all McGee could do was look on from the 'pen, hands on his hips.
Maddon said he wants to avoid extending McGee for more than three outs at a time, and that the left-handed McGee was up in the eighth primarily as a deterrent to keep the Red Sox from bringing David Ortiz into the game as a pinch-hitter.
So Geltz was Maddon's plan all the way, and the Rays skipper still liked what he saw, especially on the strikeout.
"He showed the fastball against Napoli," Maddon said. "You can see the real power in the fastball. He's not a tall guy, but he throws the ball well."
Jennings out again, but available to pinch-hit
ST. PETERSBURG -- Desmond Jennings was absent from the starting lineup Monday for a third straight game due to left knee soreness. However, the center fielder would be available to pinch-hit, manager Joe Maddon said.
"He ran today with [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield], and he's fine, he's doing better, but he's still sore," Maddon said. "He can play -- probably you'll see him pinch-hit today if necessary, but I don't really want to extend him on the outfield yet."
Maddon said Jennings could possibly return to the outfield during the Rays' upcoming series against the Blue Jays.
Jennings last played on Thursday against the Orioles. He was a late scratch before Friday's series opener against the Red Sox, being removed from the lineup minutes before game time.
His return to the lineup could create something of a logjam of Rays outfielders. Tampa Bay will have Jennings, David DeJesus, Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Joyce, Brandon Guyer and Wil Myers all healthy at the same time, which they have not had this season.
"As Desmond gets well, that's what presents the issue regarding balancing the whole thing out," Maddon said. "Once Desmond gets well, I'm going to have to start to figure out how to get everybody involved."
Kiermaier has started all four games in center field in Jennings' absence. Ben Zobrist was in the leadoff spot, which normally belongs to Jennings, on Monday.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.