10/21/08 5:00 PM ET
Rays appear set with current roster
Changes not expected before Wednesday's 10 am ET deadline
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
If the Rays do tinker with their roster before Wednesday morning's 10 ET deadline, it would likely involve swapping backup catcher Michel Hernandez for Shawn Riggans or right fielder Gabe Gross for Eric Hinske, but manager Joe Maddon didn't seem sold on either idea prior to Tuesday's workout.
Riggans has been rehabbing after right knee surgery, performed Sept. 10, and although hopeful he could be activated, the 28-year-old didn't sound overly optimistic.
"They haven't told me anything," Riggans said prior to Tuesday's workout. "I [have] to talk to [Maddon] and see what they say. I think if I was going to be on the roster they probably would have told me by now."
Riggans has been able to get down into a catcher's squat but has only practiced blocking balls once and said he still needed to improve popping up from the catching position with power.
Starting catcher Dioner Navarro has been behind the plate for every pitch this postseason, and all reports indicate Navarro will continue to grind it out for the World Series.
The Rays are also likely to stick with Gross as their left-handed bat in right field, despite his less than savory performance in the ALCS.
The 29-year-old outfielder was hitless (0-for-10 with five strikeouts) over the seven-game series but is a better defensive player than Hinske, who hit 20 homers this season.
Without Hinske for the second straight series, the ever-scheming Maddon still has options in right field off the bench. Against a right-handed starter, he could opt for Gross' left-handed bat and later insert switch-hitters Ben Zobrist or Fernando Perez. Bench player Willy Aybar is also a switch-hitter.
All 11 pitchers are expected to be the same, with the starting four rotation of Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine. The seven relievers used in the ALCS were Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler, Trever Miller, Chad Bradford, David Price and Edwin Jackson.
Former closer Troy Percival, who was left off the postseason roster, is not expected to be a factor in the World Series.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.