Before tonight's game, the Rays will activate Asdrubal Cabrera from the disabled list. Thankfully, he's only spent a couple of weeks on the shelf after suffering what looked like a painful injury a few days before the all-star break began, straining his hamstring rounding third in a terrible way. It will be nice to have him back in the fold.
Flipping the script, Cabrera's defense has shined this season, so one could potentially excuse his dip in offensive performance, although he has started to pick it up a tad before being injured.
This season, Cabrera has slashed .223/.275/.352 with five homers in 86 games. Since June 18th, over the course of 23 games, Cabrera slashed .288/.318/.475 with two homers. His strikeout numbers were also trending downward.
When Cabrera went down, the Rays promoted Tim Beckham (who has been excellent, albeit a few base running gaffes). He's certainly proven that he can hit big league pitching, meanwhile Jake Elmore has been slumping at the plate, and in spite of compent defense when the Rays needed it most, that has resulted in him being sent down instead of T-Bex.
So far this season, Beckham has hit .233/.298/.448 with five homers in 46 games. This time around, since his re-promotion, he's hit .318/.423/.545 with five doubles.
It was probably a tossup between Elmore, Butler, and Beckham but unfortunately for Elmore, his performance at the plate was never stellar, and that has earned him a trip back to Durham. In a surprise turn of events, Elmore still had options so he didn't have to be designated for assignment.
Joey Butler, meanwhile, stays. He was the Rays best offensive player for a period of two months, but he fell back down to Earth over the last month in a violent manner. Since June 24th, he's slashed .170/.254/.189 with a lone extra base hit, sporting a 39% strikeout rate. He has walked six times, which is an improvement, but his on-base percentage is nearly 70 points higher than Elmore's during about the same time frame, which shows you what you need to know about Elmore.
Jake Elmore's offensive performance has been non-existant. Since June 19th, Elmore has six hits in 70 plate appearances. Over that time, Elmore has slashed .098/.186/.164 with a 18.6% strikeout rate.
Judging by those two players performances, Elmore was the obvious candidate to be sent down, as his only purpose was to be a versatile defensive replacement and it seems the Rays brass agrees, as they had Beckham taking reps at first base in warm ups over the past two days. The fact it came down to Elmore OR Butler is a frustration for a different day.