The best-in-baseball Tampa Bay Rays made a number of roster moves on Thursday, placing starting shortstop Jason Bartlett on the 15-day disabled list, calling up infielders Reid Brignac and Ben Zobrist from Triple-A Durham, and sending Mitch Talbot back down to Durham.
Bartlett, who had a big night in the Rays' win over Boston on Thursday, has a sprained right knee. While he has been one of the least productive offensive players in the majors to this point, his work with the glove at shortstop has helped shore up the Tampa Bay infield defense, ending the days of defensive mediocrity at such a crucial position for the Rays. He is a solid stopgap until one of the Rays' top infield prospects--Brignac, even Tim Beckham, though he is years away--are ready to fill the role on a permanent basis.
In the meantime, Brignac, one of the top infield prospects in the minors, should see a significant amount of playing time at shortstop in Bartlett's absence. While he needs to improve upon his plate discipline, he is a capable defensive infielder with tremendous power potential. Before the promotion, he posted a line of .277/.319/.469 while leading the Bulls with 24 doubles. He has struck out 50 times, however, while walking only 15 times. Regardless, the 2006 California League MVP is a promising prospect who mill make his big league debut on Friday night in the Rays' series opener against the Kansas City Royals.
Zobrist, now in his third stint in the majors this season, will remain as a utility infield option.
For Talbot, his days in St. Pete ended before he even threw a pitch. Talbot, a 24-year-old right-hander who is 7-6 for the Bulls, came to close to making his major league debut but his dream of pitching in the bigs was put on hold for the time being.