Rays promote Solis for depth behind the plate
TORONTO -- Ali Solis remembers John Gibbons calling him into his office back in September 2012. Then the manager of Double-A San Antonio, Gibbons, who now manages the Blue Jays, had some encouraging words for the young catcher.
"He brought me into his office and told me, 'You're doing good, and I think you could be a big league catcher,' and stuff like that," recalled a smiling Solis, who was recalled by the Rays on Tuesday after the club optioned pitcher Alex Colome to Triple-A Durham.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays moved Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.
"[Gibbons] asked me if I thought I could be a Major League catcher, and I told him, 'Of course, I want to be a big leaguer. I'm working my butt off to get there,'" said Solis.
But Gibbons was holding back. What he hadn't told Solis is that he'd already been called up to the Padres. He was toying with him, all in good humor, of course.
So off Solis went for his first crack at Major League Baseball, which included a grand total of five games with San Diego, where he made four plate appearances.
He hasn't been back to the big leagues since, but with Ryan Hanigan nursing a sore right hamstring, the 26-year-old should see some playing time this week. And for the time being, the addition of Solis gives the Rays three catchers.
"He's not here just to take up space," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "He's going to play. He might start [Wednesday], but we'll see."
Solis signed a Minor League deal with the Rays in the offseason. In 29 games with Durham so far this season, he's hitting .186 (19-for-102). Solis identifies primarily as a defensive catcher, and it's a part of his game he tirelessly works on, he said.