Joe Smith, of the St. Petersburg Times, reports the Tampa Bay Rays placed first baseman Carlos Pena (finger) on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, June 4, with a fractured left index finger. Pena suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday, June 3.
To fill Pena's roster spot, the team brought up outfielder Justin Ruggiano from Triple-A Durham.
Pena has not been the hitter he was last year, when he batted .282 with 46 home runs and 121 RBIs. Pena was 0-for-15 before a recent three-game hitting streak. So far this season he is only hitting .227 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs. He already has 71 strikeouts.
With Pena sidelined, look for the Rays to replace him with first baseman Eric Hinske. Hinske has been filling in at first base, designated hitter and outfield for the team this year. He has 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in 152 at-bats, while hitting .243 this season. Only one of his home runs in 2008 has come while playing first base.
On the fantasy side, Pena owners should stash him in a DL spot and await his return. The injury does not seem to be too serious, especially after Pena indicated he was fine after the June 3 game. Fantasy owners should still have a backup plan in place in case his fractured finger keeps him out for an extended period of time.
Look to pick up Hinske off your league's waiver wire as a temporary solution with Pena ailing. He is having a surprising year in regards to his power numbers. He hit a career-high 24 home runs in 2002 on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Replacing the slumping Pena with Hinske should not lead to a dropoff in power numbers, since Hinske is only one home run behind Pena this year in 55 fewer at-bats.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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