ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays placed outfielder Gabe Kapler on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a mild right ankle sprain, clearing up a roster spot for first baseman Carlos Pena to return.
Kapler said he sustained the injury during a collision at the plate Saturday with Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. Kapler was forced to run home on the play and hoped to bowl over Wieters after a baserunning gaffe by B.J. Upton that resulted in both players standing at third.
"I just pushed off with my right foot and felt a little twist there," Kapler said. "It is what it is -- a mild ankle sprain."
Kapler said he hasn't dealt with anything like this before, but he and the trainers thought it would be best to take care of it sooner rather than later. The stint on the disabled list is retroactive to Sunday, so Kapler will likely return around Sept. 1, when Major League rosters expand to 40 players. Kapler couldn't guarantee he would be back by then, instead stressing the importance of a full recovery.
"As we've seen in the past, the sooner you can jump on minor injuries, the sooner they jump back for you and you can perform at your highest level," Kapler said. "I'm not here to make any predictions. I know that we needed to jump on it and knock it out, and I'll be healthy in due time."
Manager Joe Maddon said he hoped to have the right-handed-hitting outfielder back by Sept. 1. In that case, no one would have to be sent down or released to make room for Kapler's return.
"It kind of worked out that we were able to DL him today as Carlos came back," Maddon said. "Kap will be ready probably by the first of September."