ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays received infield reinforcements to compensate for the loss of third baseman Evan Longoria on Saturday when infielder Ryan Roberts was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
Manager Joe Maddon expects to split starts at third base between Kelly Johnson, who filled in for Longoria on Friday and started on Saturday, and Roberts depending on matchups. Roberts is likely to see more time against left-handed pitching.
Roberts was on the Opening Day roster and started 25 games for the club before being sent to Durham on June 17 to make room for Wil Myers.
Roberts, who was hitting .238 for the Rays, hit .276 in eight games with Durham.
"I wasn't angry when I got sent down," Roberts said Saturday. "I wasn't bitter toward anybody. I knew I was going down there for a reason. I got at-bats. I played every day. I got to see a wide range of pitchers and pitches. I definitely think I came back a little better than I left."
Some of Roberts' Tampa Bay teammates didn't recognize the clean-shaven version of Roberts, who complied with a Durham team rule and shaved his beard, which required a trimming machine and two razors.
"I stood in front of the mirror staring at myself for a good 30 or 45 seconds," Roberts said. "I hadn't seen my cheeks or my chin in about seven years. It was eye-opening. I Skyped with my daughter and she wouldn't even look at the phone because she kept saying, 'Where's Daddy's beard?' It was definitely a reality check for me."
Right-hander Alex Colome, who is 1-1 in three starts this season, was optioned to Durham to make room for Roberts. Colome's demotion cuts Maddon's starting rotation from six to five, a necessity for David Price's return from the disabled list on Tuesday.
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less