ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- What had been a position of strencth defensively for the Tampa Bay Rays as late as this week has all of a sudden become a question mark for the leaders in the American League East.
After having to place catcher Michael Perez on the injured list due to oblique tightness Wednesday, Tampa Bay placed their other catcher on the Opening Day roster, Mike Zunino on the 10-day injured list Friday (retroactive to Thursday) with a strained left quad.
The 28-year-old catcher, acquired by the Rays in the trade that sent outfielder Mallex Smith to the great northwest, was hitting .220/.260/.407 with three home runs and 17 RBI.
Zunino suffered the injury in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game running out a fielder's choice grounder. Reliever Casey Sadler was recalled from Triple-A Durham as the corresponding move.
The Rays also optioned first baseman Nate Lowe back to Triple-A on Wednesday and send down infielder Andrew Velazquez today, activating outfielder Austin Meadows from the 10-day injured list and selecting catcher Anthony Bemboom from Durham to make his big league debut.
Tampa Bay takes on the New York Yankees tonight for the first of three games this weekend at Tropicana Field. Coverage on WDAE begins at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10.
Photo: Tampa Bay Rays