TORONTO — The road trip began Monday with a bit of a surprise when OF Brandon Guyer was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a hairline fracture in his left thumb, prompting the club to recall RHP Alex Colome, who was reinstated Sunday after serving a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test.
“We're challenged in pitching right now just based on the length of our games,” manager Joe Maddon said of the move to add Colome to the bullpen over adding an outfielder. “We needed someone who could provide both length and short, if that makes any sense.”
Maddon said he wasn't sure how long Colome would stay with the big club. The answer: One day.
Colome was sent back to Durham late Monday after pitching four innings in relief of starter Erik Bedard in a 10-5 loss to Blue Jays.
“The biggest thing is we have to make sure the bullpen is well before we do something else,” Maddon said.
Colome tested positive during spring training for Bolderone, which is an anabolic steroid used to treat horses, and missed the first 50 games of Triple-A Durham's season.
Guyer suffered the injury during the fifth inning Sunday when he tried to make a diving catch on a ball hit by Boston's Grady Sizemore. Guyer remained in the game and even had a hit. He complained of soreness afterward and X-rays showed the fracture. He is expected to miss three weeks.
“You feel bad for the kid,” Maddon said. “He's done everything right and he still gets penalized sometimes. He's a wonderful young man. He's going to be back. His big-league career is going to continue. He's turning into a major-league player.”
Guyer, hitting .262 this season, had six hits in his last 10 at-bats and played a key role with a four-hit night in the Rays' comeback during the 15-inning win Saturday against the Red Sox. This is the third straight year the rookie has been on the disabled list.
Promoting Colome to the major leagues one day after he was reinstated from a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a PED was sure to raise some eyebrows among the Durham pitching staff.
“There was so much sensitivity to that, but at the end of the day … we needed him based on his skill set today,” Maddon said. “He fits that mold. I would almost bet that some guys don't understand that, and that's OK. But this is a call that we have to make based on what's best for the Rays right now.”
Maddon said Colome was scheduled to start Monday for the Bulls, which made him the ideal candidate.
Colome, with bench coach Dave Martinez providing the interpretation, said he “made a big mistake,” and thanked the organization for sticking by him during his suspension. He said he wasn't sure what he took that caused him to fail the drug test.
Yunel Escobar, also speaking through Martinez, said he was caught up in the moment Sunday when the Red Sox began yelling at him from the dugout after he stole third base in the seventh inning with his team up by five runs.
He said he played the game the right way and mentioned Game 1 of last year's AL divisions series when Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base with Boston holding a six-run lead.
Escobar, Sean Rodriguez and Boston's Jonny Gomes were ejected. Gomes ran in from left field and shoved Escobar.
When asked if he expected his players to earn fines or suspensions, Maddon said, “I would hope not. You look at what Escobar did. He yelled into the dugout after they yelled at him. OK. Sean Rodriguez is yelling and pointing fingers? Who wasn't? Jonny came in from left field. Let them decide what they want to do there. I would really be disappointed if any of our guys were involved in any kind of discipline, because I really don't think we were the perpetrators at all.”
2B Ben Zobrist (dislocated left thumb) is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assisgnment tonight for Class A Charlotte in Port Charlotte. He is expected to join the Rays on Friday in Boston. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) is scheduled to throw a two-inning simulated game Wednesday in Port Charlotte with 15 pitches each inning. If all goes well, he could begin his minor-league rehab assignment June 2.