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Friday May 6, 2011 8:41 pm

Tampa Bay Rays recall Brandon Guyer to replace Upton or Niemann

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Injuries, MLB,

The ever-creative Tampa Bay Rays are preparing for the worst. Early on Friday they played right-handed starter Jeff Niemann on the disabled list, leaving a vacancy in the starting rotation, and to replace him, they’ve called up Brandon Guyer from Triple-A Durham. As an outfielder, Guyer won’t be making any starts on the mound. Instead, he’s there to provide insurance in case center fielder B.J. Upton winds up being suspended by the league for a tantrum he threw in Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Upton struck out four times in the game – three looking – including in the ninth inning when a pitch by Frank Francisco was at least an inch inside was called strike three by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Frustrated with the inconsistent strike zone, Upton lost it. After throwing his bat, helmet, batting gloves and shin pad (amongst an onslaught of obscenity), Fairchild tossed Upton, who became the third victim of an ejection, joining the two managers who were thrown out earlier in the game.

Upton’s tirade wasn’t unjustified, it was just poorly timed. As one of the premier members of the Rays’ roster, losing him for any amount of time may be harmful to his club, especially at this time in the season when first through last in the AL East are separated by four games. Upton should have saved his screaming for the dugout and let his manager (or third base coach in this case) handle the umpire and report the situation to the higher-ups after the game.

Instead, the Rays look like they’ll have to give Guyer a chance to make his debut this weekend. With an off-day on Monday, they can skip the fifth-starter if they need to. Otherwise, they may call up another player from Durham or possibly move Andy Sonnanstine from the bullpen for a spot start. Whether Guyer’s stint in the majors lasts as long as Upton’s pending suspension or Niemann’s time on the DL is unknown, but replacing either of those guys is going to make for an interesting MLB debut.



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