Rays could trade Jose Lobaton

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With Jose Molina and Ryan Hanigan behind the dish, Jose Lobaton is now expendable and the Rays could explore trading him, writes Mark Topkin for the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin adds that, given the vagaries of the game of baseball, they’ll likely bring Lobaton to spring training in case either of their catchers suffers an injury, but could trade him to a team in need of a back-up towards the end of March.

Lobaton, 29, was quite productive for the Rays last season, posting a .714 OPS in 311 plate appearances. He isn’t nearly as capable defensively as Molina, but his bat made up for what he lacked in curtailing base-stealers and framing pitches. Lobaton was one of 19 catchers last season to take at least 300 trips to the plate and finish with an OPS of .700 or better.

Hunter Pence exits game with groin injury

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Rangers OF/DH Hunter Pence exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after suffering an apparent injury chasing down a ground-rule double hit by José Peraza in the fifth inning. The beat writers are suggesting it’s a groin injury, but we’ll have to wait for the Rangers to provide an update to know for sure.

Update:

Pence was 1-for-2 with a two-run home run on the afternoon before suffering the injury. He’s had a rebirth of a season, batting .294/.353/.608 with 15 home runs, 48 RBI, and 44 runs scored in 215 plate appearances.

Shin-Soo Choo and Pence were sharing both the DH spot and left field. If Pence needs to go on the injured list, Danny Santana would likely see an uptick in playing time, particularly in left field.