Backup Catcher Shawn Riggans (Photo By Dennis Adair)
Nothing new, but now it's official. The Rays have placed backup catcher Shawn Riggans on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis. The move is retroactive to April 10th. To replace Riggans, the Rays recalled minor league veteran Michel Hernandez from Durham. With an open spot on the 40 man from the Jason Hammel trade, Hernandez was added without a corresponding move.
Hopefully the move is short term as Hernandez is pretty close to replacement level across the board. I would not want to see him be the backup catcher for a long stretch of the season. Hernandez, 30 spent part of last September with the Rays and served as the backup in the playoffs again replacing the injured Riggans. He did not appear in a post season game.
For Riggans, a personal favorite of mine, it's just another injury to add to the laundry list he's already accumulated over his career. We all know Riggans is a capable backup with some nice pop and shady defense. The problem is even in a limited role (once or twice a week) he has not shown the ability to stay healthy. We also know the guy has a baseball imprinted on his chest (we watched it happen), but the rest of his body seems fragile.
If this minor injury turns into something that lingers longer than just a normal DL stint, I hope the Rays would address the situation with someone other than Hernandez. They could do that internally with John Jaso or maybe looking at some better options available like Javier Valentin, if you're looking for offense or Paul Bako, if you're looking for defense. Personally, I just hope the injury is minor and Riggans can go back to playing twice a week and hitting home runs.