Steven Souza Jr. will head back to the disabled list after being hit in the hand by a Joe Kelly fastball in the fifth inning of today's Red Sox-Rays game. Souza stayed in the game initially, but he was pulled and sent for X-Rays during the sixth inning, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, which revealed the fracture.
Souza had just recently come off of the disabled list after recovering from a "lacerated pinky" (also the result of a hit-by-pitch).
It's a real shame as far as the Rays are concerned, as one of the priorities for the rest of this season has to be to get Souza as many plate appearances against major league pitching as possible. Souza has produced offensively at a league-average rate in his rookie season, but the Rays believe he has the ability to do much more than that. He's flashed great power, but it's difficult for any player to put their power to use when they're striking out 35% of the time.
As we've discussed at length this season, Souza's extreme strikeout rate is attributable in part to some very large holes in his approach that major league pitchers are able to exploit. If he can figure out how to close those holes, his overall approach is solid.
The Rays will most likely respond to the injury by recalling recently-optioned outfielder Mikie Mahtook.