The Diamondbacks re-assigned six players to minor-league camp Sunday, including pitching prospects Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair. Shipley allowed one earned run on five hits and one walk in four innings while striking out two in two spring games. Blair surrendered two earned runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out four in three appearances. The team also re-assigned pitchers Blake Beaven and Justin Marks as well as catchers Matt Pagnozzi and Mark Thomas.
Eight catchers are in Major League camp with the Diamondbacks, and manager Chip Hale said that any combination of them could make the final roster. 24-year-old Peter O'Brien is a former second-round draft pick of the Yankees, who was dealt to the D-Backs last season. He's one of the top prospects in the organization and will get extensive playing time, either at the Major League level or in the minors until he's ready to take the starting job on the big club. 35-year-old Gerald Laird is a non-roster invitee. He'll likely serve as a backup if he makes the roster. "We know what Gerald can do," Hale told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "We just need to make sure that he's ready. If and when he makes the team, he'll have to catch. How much can he catch for us? We'll have to figure that out." Tuffy Gosewisch has the most experience with the team and is likely to take one of the roster spots. Rule V pick Oscar Hernandez needs to make the big club or be returned to the Rays. Hale praised his defense. ""He's really looked good behind the plate," Hale said. "He kind of makes it hard on the coaches and the manager because every ball he catches looks like a strike. ... He's got great hands back there and he blocks it." Jordan Pacheco could make the squad based on his versatility at other positions. Blake Lalli , Matt Pagnozzi and Mark Thomas will have a tough time beating out the five players ahead of them on the depth chart.
Rays minor league catcher Mark Thomas has been suspended 50 games for failing a test for drug abuse, the Tampa Bay Times reports Tuesday. It was his second violation. Thomas, 25, was playing with Double-A Montgomery. He was hitting .151 over 186 at-bats.
The Rays reassigned Nevin Ashley, Juan Miranda, Ricky Orta and Mark Thomas to minor-league camp on Monday.