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Lobaton activated from DL; Gimenez optioned

Lobaton activated from DL; Gimenez optioned

Lobaton activated from DL; Gimenez optioned
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays activated catcher Jose Lobaton from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and optioned catcher Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Durham.

"I feel fine, my arm feels pretty good," Lobaton said. "I feel that I'm ready to play."

Lobaton missed the last 41 games with right-shoulder soreness. The 27-year-old switch-hitter said the experience of waiting to get back to the Major Leagues was "bad."

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"I was thinking in the beginning it was going to be short, like a week," Lobaton said. "Now, it feels like a year. But I'm happy to be back and I'll try to help the team and do my best."

Lobaton came up lame after making a throw against the Tigers on April 12 in Detroit.

"I don't know how [the injury] happened, it was cold that day," Lobaton said. "It was different. Talking to the trainers, I need to stretch a lot [to help prevent a recurrence in the future]. ... That's what I've been doing every day, stretching, stretching. My treatment, try to keep working every day for my shoulder, try to get stronger."

Lobaton hit .091 in 10 rehab games for Class A Charlotte, Double-A Montgomery and Durham.

Rays manager Joe Maddon explained the move.

"Lobaton's ready to come back, that's how we had it set up at the beginning of the year," Maddon said. "We like Lobaton's abilities and what he can bring, both offensively and defensively.

"On the other hand, Gimenez did a really good job. He did a really good job behind the plate, a lot of energy. And the pitchers really like to throw to him. The biggest thing is we have to get him to be more proficient offensively.

"Not just getting hits. I talked to him about this yesterday, his bunting and situational hitting. We have to perk that up a little bit. But, overall, he did a really, really fine job, represented himself well. He is as advertised: great in the clubhouse, really strong make-up guy."

Maddon said he saw improvement in Gimenez's work behind the plate from when he saw him during Spring Training and during his regular-season stint with the team.

"Once he got comfortable with everything, he blocked the ball well, he received the ball well," Maddon said. "And like I said, the pitchers like to throw to him. Any time you're a catcher and a pitcher says he likes to throw to you, it's probably the highest compliment you can receive."

As for Lobaton, Maddon said it's just a matter of getting him into the games playing, and playing healthy.

"One of the big things that we've had information-wise from his Minor League experience is that ball off the bat, velocity's been really good," Maddon said. "He hits the ball hard. So we just have to get to where can get him out there on a more consistent basis where we can be comfortable with that. ... That's the rep he's got, hitting the ball hard. It's going to be about getting at-bats, staying healthy."

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