Rays' Carlos Pena Latest to Hit DL
Two days after Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis went on the disabled list with a season-ending thumb injury, the Rays sent Carlos Pena to the DL on Friday.
There are no indications that Pena's problem -- a plantar fascia sprain in his right foot -- will keep him out for an extended period, but his loss is nonetheless a blow for Tampa Bay, which is engaged in a running battle for first place with the Yankees and trying to pull away from the Red Sox.
Pena hadn't played since leaving Saturday's game with the injury, so the move is retroactive to Aug. 1. That will allow Pena to return relatively quickly as long as his foot cooperates.
Pena hasn't been quite the offensive force this season that he has the last few years, but had started to put it together at the plate lately. He's hitting .212 with a .772 OPS, 23 homers and 68 RBI this season, but has had a long way to come back after a horrific May. He hit .120 with a .483 OPS in the second month of the season, striking out 37 times in 100 at-bats.
The Rays will likely use a variety of players to replace Pena, including super-utility guy Ben Zobrist, Willy Aybar and the recently recalled Dan Johnson. But having his power bat in the middle of the lineup will be important for them down the stretch and into October.
Reliever Dale Thayer got the call to take Pena's roster spot, but he could give way to long reliever Andy Sonnanstine if the right-hander comes off the DL on Saturday, the first day he is eligible to do so.