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The Rays Tank: Accept the Best, Expect the Worst

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Not one or two, but three players were nipped by the injury bug over the weekend.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite songwriters, Blake Schwarzenbach, coined the lyric accept the best, expect the worst back in the 90’s. And while Blake was from Berkley — by way of Los Angeles — and though he wrote the lyric before the Devil Rays were even a team, I’m pretty sure he, in all of his prophetic wisdom, foresaw a day like Sunday, when not one or two, but three players* were nipped by the injury bug. For the three players in question — Steven Souza Jr., James Loney, and Asdrubal Cabrera — the severity of their injuries are unknown at the time of writing.

Souza Jr. left Sunday’s game in the third inning after a first inning collision with Athletics’ catcher Stephen Vogt at the plate. Although the X-Rays came back negative, it is uncertain whether he’ll be in the lineup moving forward:

On the collision I kind of felt something and figured it would just go away, Souza told Matt Baker (Tampa Bay Times). Took some swings on deck. It was lingering a little bit, but nothing too severe. But on the check-swing, I felt the pain. We’re just being precautious.

Souza, who is listed as day-to-day, is looking like he might be ok.

Loney left the game after spraining is left middle finger on a headfirst slide on a well executed double steal in the eighth inning. The first baseman was able to play defense in the ninth; however, his finger swelled up afterward and it was revealed to have a break. He's now out of commission for 6-8 weeks.

As for Cabrera, the shortstop left the game with what has been called a mild groin strain, after sustaining the injury trying to get back to second in the seventh inning. Cabrera started a double play in the sixth, where he lost his footing and extended his left leg toward the bag. One can’t help but wonder if that play initially agitated things.

Cabrera downplayed the severity of the injury, saying: "I feel a little sore, but it's more tightness, I think I'll be all right in a couple of days." Without knowing the extent of the trauma, it’s hard to say with any certainty that Souza, Loney, or Cabrera will or won’t spend any time on the DL. Nevertheless it’s the opinion of Baker that Cabrera’s injury is the least concerning of the three.

I asked Baker (via Twitter) if the groin injury is still considered mild, to which he responded:

Accept the best, expect the worst. Personally, I’d gladly accept a couple of days of missed action from the trifecta, instead of a stint on the DL for any (or all) of the three.

*Four, if you also include Oakland starter Sonny Gray who was hit in the ankle by a comebacker.

Other Injury Considerations

D-Russ stepping in for some injury updates elsewhere:

- Vince Belnome and Hak Ju Lee are on the disabled list, and with neither available it's all on Tim Beckham, Jake Elmore, and the recovering Ryan Brett to supplant the infield needs of the Rays at the moment.

- The Rays are asking Matt Moore to throw another bullpen session for a simulated start, as opposed to moving to rehab starts, but those are imminent.

- Ryan Brett and C.J. Riefenhauser have been rehabbing at High-A, and CJR is on his way to Durham. Both could be back in a week.

Additionally Speaking

— NPR’s To the Best of Our Knowledge explored the subject of baseball diplomacy on their most recent episode. The description from their website sums up the excellent piece: Rumors are flying that we'll see a Major League baseball game in Havana next year. But that doesn't account for the thorny problem of Cuban defectors now playing in America, or the crumbling infrastructure of Havana's baseball stadiums. Check it out, it’s definitely worth your time.

— Tim Casey (Vice Sports) wrote a fantastic article about Rocco Baldelli, one of most beloved members of the Rays organization.

— Jordi Scrubbings opines that the Tampa Bay sports market is overstretched and over-saturated, writing, "According to the study, the Tampa Bay area is tied for the fifth most overextended market in professional sports."

— Well-known St. Pete author Peter Golenbock offered a rather simple, Jeff Vinik-like suggestion for a way that Rays owner Stu Sternberg could turn things around in the stadium saga. I won’t ruin it for you...you’ll have to read the article yourself.

— LHP Blake Snell's scoreless streak ended at 46 innings in the minors to open the season.