The Rays Tank: Molina OK, Zobrist and Helly returns nearing

Tom Szczerbowski

Prior to yesterday's game, Ryan Hanigan was placed on the 15-day DL due to lingering issues with his right hamstring, allowing Jose Molina to again become the Rays everyday starting catcher...that is, until he got hit with a foul tip to the mask in last night's game.

Molina is expected to be fine, and Maddon seemed optimistic postgame:

As of now, Hanigan doesn't believe the hammy has a tear (sans MRI), and hopes he can begin strengthening in a week and return to the team when eligible on June 11th.

But seriously, can we catch a break? First our pitchers, now our catchers? Everyone is wearing bubble wrap uniforms from here on out.

***

ICYMI: Ian provided a recap highlighting all the frustrations of last night's loss.

***

Ben Zobrist made his first rehab start on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 with a walk for Class A Charlotte, and will play one more game tonight prior to rejoining the team tomorrow in Boston.

Jeremy Hellickson's return to the Rays is also inching nearer, as he reached 90 mph on his fastball and threw curveballs during a two-inning simulated game.

Links:

- BPro looked at how to celebrate a game-winning error, using Desmond Jennings' at bat in last Saturday's 15-inning game and the ending result as a prime example.

- So, who has hit the best against the Rays in their history (though here, limited to 100 at-bats)? Any guesses? You won't name him, guaranteed.

- I haven't had the time to read it yet, but the American Sports Medicine Institute and Dr. John Andrews released a statement on the epidemic of Tommy John surgery. Biggest takeaway, via the Sweet Spot:

"RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL PITCHERS AND TEAMS FOR REDUCING RISK OF TOMMY JOHN INJURY"

Do not always pitch with 100% effort. The best professional pitchers pitch with a range of ball velocity, good ball movement, good control, and consistent mechanics among their pitches. The professional pitcher's objectives are to prevent baserunners and runs, not to light up the radar gun.

Hmm...

- Snaps for Kaz:

- In case anyone wants to brush up on their knowledge, eDX.org is offering a free online course in "Sabermetrics 101: Introduction to Baseball Analytics," which has been taught at Tufts since 2004. #themoreyouknow

Four MLB stories you may have missed thus far this season.

- Rick Reilly penned a letter to Derek Jeter's unborn children. Uhhhhhh... If you don't want to read all 1,131 praises, here's the Clif Notes version.

- "Best fans in baseball":

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