ST. PETERSBURG -- Hoping to shore up their catching position, the Rays recalled Luke Maile from Triple-A Durham prior to Friday's game to fill Hank Conger's vacated roster spot.The Rays optioned Conger to Durham on Monday.Maile, 25, played in 15 games for Tampa Bay in 2015, batting .171 with two
ST. PETERSBURG -- Hoping to shore up their catching position, the Rays recalled Luke Maile from Triple-A Durham prior to Friday's game to fill Hank Conger's vacated roster spot.
The Rays optioned Conger to Durham on Monday.
Maile, 25, played in 15 games for Tampa Bay in 2015, batting .171 with two RBIs in 35 plate appearances. He had spent all of this season with Durham, where he hit .242 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 214 trips to the plate.
"Obviously we brought Luke up last year to get him some experience," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think we kind of envisioned a scenario where he was going to be up here. We need to find out a little bit about him. He's actually had a pretty good run offensively here the last month or so at Triple-A. Great reports from Jared [Sandberg], his Triple-A manager."
Maile is known as a quality "catch-and-throw" guy. His arrival should help shore up the team's catching.
"He's a guy that really is receptive to the game plan and pitch calling," Cash said. "Likes to work and communicate with our pitchers. He blocks the ball well. He gives us a chance to throw guys out. His defense, he'll be fine. And we saw it last year -- when he played up here, he did a nice job for us."
After a slow start offensively, Maile has hit .319 over the past 30 days. He's batting .269 for the month of July.
"The last six or seven weeks have been a lot better for me," Maile said. "You know, it's been a good year. It's been a big learning cuve for me, my second year in Triple-A. It's been a big adjustment. But it's the same old stuff that guys always talk about. … It's all about the process, try to stay within myself. But I feel like I'm in a good place now."
Maile felt as though being with the team last year would help "a lot" this time around.
"I think some of the simple things -- just like knowing people's names and where to go " Maile said. "[What time] batting practice starts. All that stuff goes a long way, makes you feel more comfortable. You can just concentrate on baseball."
Conger has struggled this season offensively and defensively -- particularly throwing out baserunners. Tampa Bay thought it would be getting more offense from Conger, who was acquired from Houston this offseason. But he hit just .194 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 49 games.
"As far as Hank goes, you know, a little bit unfortunate," Cash said. "Didn't get off to the best start. Wasn't able to rebound from that. He's a guy that we were able to option, and we'll see if consistent playing time [will help him] iron out some things both offensively and defensively."
Now Rays fans will look to Maile, who will split catching duties with Curt Casali, to be a guy who does a better job throwing out would-be basestealers.
"I'm just going to do what I do," Maile said. "If they get to second base, they get to second base. All I can control is making good throws. No matter what's happened in the past here, that's in the past. We're just going to leave that there.
"I feel good about [being here]. I know that I can help. I know that I can play a little bit of defense. I know that I can swing the bat a little bit from time to time. If I just do what I do, I think I'll be fine."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.