Jorge Cantu is back. Akinori Iwamura was placed on the DL today with a strained oblique muscle and Cantu was recalled from Durham to take his place.
Honestly we are a bit surprised that Cantu was the choice, although there really isn’t a lot of offensive talent at Durham right now. Cantu’s demotion at the end of spring training was not received very well by the second baseman and he subsequently demanded a trade. It is not clear if the Rays have entered into anything other than preliminary discussions with other teams about moving Cantu. There just does not seem to be much of a market for a second baseman with limited defensive abilities and a bat in decline.
Iwamura to the DL is a big blow to the this team. He was the one player on the team that would actually work a pitcher. He is 4th in the AL in walks on a team that has always struggled with getting on base. And is it us or is the oblique muscle a recent discovery to science? Up to 5 years ago, we never heard of a player missing time with an injured oblique. Now it happens all the time. Apparently the injury occurred earlier in the week. The big worry is how serious the injury is. Obliques can be a finicky muscle and if not careful, this could turn into a season-long nagging injury.
As for the Rays lineup, look for Cantu to receive at bats, but not regular playing time. BJ Upton is still the second baseman. Ty Wigginton will likely slide over to third base with Brendan Harris also receiving some starts. On days that Wiggy is at third, Carlos Pena will start at first base. Cantu is most likely to receive one or two starts a week at DH.