Licking their wounds after a three-game sweep at the hands of a blazing hot Toronto Blue Jays team, the Tampa Bay Rays will get a big boost on Friday with the return of Ben Zobrist.
Zobrist, who has been on the disabled list since May 15th with a sprained thumb, is all clear and will be activated before Tampa Bay’s series this weekend against the Boston Red Sox. On Thursday the team optioned Cole Figueroa to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Zobrist, according to Bill Chastain of MLB.com.
Understated though his game can be, Zobrist is one of the more valuable members of the Rays. He is typically somewhere around a 5 win player, according to Baseball Reference, with an impressive peak in 2011 when he compiled 8.7 WAR. His versatility and his ability to make contact at the plate will immediately be a boost for a Rays team that needs it.
Primarily a second baseman this season, Zobrist can also play shortstop and the corners of the outfield as required.
Through 40 games this season Zobrist was batting .260/.352/.364 with just three home runs and nine RBI. He returns to the top of the Rays lineup for an interesting series with the Boston Red Sox. Not so much interesting in the sense that either team appears to be very good in the moment as much as it is interesting because the two sides almost came to blows over a stolen base last weekend in Tampa Bay.
A series that would normally be worthy of our attention because of its implications in the standings will instead be interesting because of the potential behavior of baseball tough guys. The Rays will embark on that series with Zobrist back in the fold.