ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay will continue to be without infielder Jeff Keppinger for Monday's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. The team announced Monday the 32-year-old is heading to the 15-day disabled list because of a broken right big toe.
The injury happened during Saturday's game against the Atlanta Braves. While sitting in the dugout, Keppinger was struck on the foot by a foul ball hit by Martin Prado. Keppinger is hitting .295 with eight RBIs on the season with two home runs.
Tampa Bay acquired infielder Drew Sutton from Pittsburgh on Monday to fill Keppinger's spot on the active roster. The team also announced left-handed pitcher John Gaub was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
Good news appears to be on the horizon for the Rays on the injury front, however. Jose Molina, who left Sunday's game after getting hit in the mask with the ball, was in the lineup against the Jays. Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria continue to take batting practice as they recover from their respective injuries. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he likes what he's seen out of both players.
"I thought Desmond was real good, very comfortable, strong, quick bat," Maddon said. "Longo, the same thing, but I know Longo is a bit farther off than Desmond is."
Jennings is eligible to come off the disabled list May 27, and Maddon added that how well Jennings can run and make cuts will determine his return.
"It's within the realm of possibility," Maddon said regarding the possibility of Jennings coming off the disabled list Sunday.
Catcher Jose Lobaton has also been on the disabled list since April 15 and could come off in about a week.
Rays acquire Minor League infielder Sutton
ST. PETERSBURG -- A day after the Braves traded him to the Pirates for cash, Minor League infielder Drew Sutton found himself traded to the Rays for a player to be named later or cash considerations on Monday.
The team announced left-handed pitcher John Gaub was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Sutton.
"It was a very wide range of emotions in about four hours," Sutton said. "There was a lot of different phone calls."
He added that his roommate on the road was former Rays player Josh Wilson, who assured Sutton he was going to a good situation.
"He said it's an awesome place to be," Sutton said. "Great staff, great clubhouse, great guys -- it's just a great place to play."
Sutton, 28, was hitting .270 in 38 games for Triple-A Gwinnett. He has played in 86 Major League games for the Reds, Indians and Red Sox, batting .258 with 24 RBIs in 159 at-bats. He signed a Minor League deal with the Braves last offseason after hitting .315 for Boston in limited time.
He played mostly second base for Gwinnett, appearing in 30 games there, seven at third base and one at first.
Sutton already has connections to many of the Rays' players, including utility man Ben Zobrist. The two were drafted together by the Houston Astros in 2004, and Sutton said Zobrist is already helping him settle in.
"That's just an added bonus that he's here," Sutton. "Just going over scouting reports, he's kinda explained how everything goes around. It's gonna be a big help."
Matsui off to slow start in Triple-A
ST. PETERSBURG -- On April 30, Tampa Bay signed Hideki Matsui to a Minor League contract. After a stint in extended spring training, the outfielder has made his way to Triple-A Durham, where he's played in six games.
After 21 at-bats, Matsui is hitting just .143 with three RBIs as of Monday.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said there is no timetable for Matsui to possibly join the Major League club but did say that the would consider brining him up when he's both ready and needed.
"I've heard he's doing fine," Maddon said. "I was talking to Andrew [Friedman] about it, we're checking up on it more closely. We're trying to get more opinion on it right now, but I haven't heard anything bad."
Matsui is a career .285 hitter in nine Major League seasons with the Yankees, Angels and A's. He has 173 career home runs and 753 RBIs. Last season with Oakland, he hit .251 with 12 home runs and 72 RBIs.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.