Souza's struggles since his return from the DL have played a large part in his recent playing time reduction, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Manager Kevin Cash has held the 27-year-old slugger out of the starting lineup for two of Tampa's last seven contests, and he's largely struggled in the games he's played during that span. Souza has one hit in his last 15 at-bats, and is hitting .197 with two extra-base hits in 17 games since his July 2 return from a hip injury. Personnel-related factors have also played a part in Souza's lack of participation, with the Rays outfield having recently received some reinforcements . "Obviously it's performance related," Cash said. "We're trying to find a balance. If you go back and look at our last eight games or so, it's kind of been a rotation in the outfield. KK (Kevin Kiermaier) is the one guy, we want to get him going because he missed a lot of the time. Corey Dickerson has come on strong here, and then (Oswaldo) Arcia, he is a guy that we want to see. Souza will continue to get back out there, in and out, just like a lot of the other guys."
Souza is not in the lineup for Tuesday's matchup with the Dodgers, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Souza will be held out of the starting lineup for the third time since the end of the All-Star break as Brandon Guyer fills in in right, batting seventh. After posting a .279 average through May 23, Souza entered a deep cold spell as he's batted just .198 in 126 at-bats since then, lowering his season slash line to .242/.295/.399.
Souza is out of the lineup Saturday against the A's, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. Oswaldo Arcia will take over in right field as Souza sits for the second time since the All-Star break. Souza is just 11-for-57 (.193 average) since his return from a hip injury and he was pulled from a game earlier this month due to a lack of hustle, but Arcia has been in an even bigger funk lately and doesn't seem like a legitimate threat to Souza's playing time.
Souza went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a walk in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Orioles. The 27-year-old's fourth-inning single brought home Logan Morrison for what turned out to be the only run of the game for the Rays. The multi-hit effort was Souza's third this month, but his first since July 5. Souza is slashing .251/.309./425 over 247 at-bats this season and has hit safely in five of the 10 games since returning from a hip injury.
Souza's day off Sunday wasn't related to any lack of effort on his part, but rather, due to manager Kevin Cash wanting to give him a day away from the game's mental rigors, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "He's probably putting a lot of pressure on himself to come through. You can tell the frustration a little bit with him." Like most of his teammates, Souza is enduring a generally tough season at the plate, and had gone 1-for-15 over the four games before Sunday. The 27-year-old had also been pulled from Tuesday's game for a lack of effort, but his latest absence was solely due to Cash feeling like Souza would benefit from an extra day off in addition to the four that the All-Star break will bring. Souza enters the season's midway point slashing .251/.308/.431 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 27 RBI.