Zunino signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Rays on Wednesday with a 2022 option, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Zunino was reportedly in "deep talks" with the Rays earlier Wednesday, and he's now reached a deal to return to his former team. Tampa Bay declined his $4.5 million team option for 2021 in late October, but the 29-year-old should serve in a timeshare at catcher after striking a new agreement. Zunino played 28 games for the Rays during the shortened 2020 season, recording a career-worst .147 batting average with four home runs and 10 RBI.
Zunino will become a free agent after the Rays declined his team option Friday, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
Zunino would have been owed $4.5 million in 2021. While that's a low number for a starting catcher, it's not clear Zunino fits that description, as he's hit .161/.233/.323 over the last two seasons. He's generally graded out as a good pitch framer, and he does have respectable power when he does happen to make contact, but there's a lower limit to how often a player can reach base and still be a useful option, and Zunino appears to have found it.
Zunino will not start Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros on Tuesday.
Zunino hit a solo homer in the Rays' Game 2 win but won't get to provide an encore in Game 3, at least not at the start of the game. With no off days scheduled for the series, it's no surprise to see the starting catcher get a rest regardless of how he's been hitting. Michael Perez starts behind the plate in his absence.
Zunino is out of the lineup Wednesday for Game 3 of the Rays' ALDS matchup with the Yankees, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.
Michael Perez will check in behind the dish for Zunino, as Rays manager Kevin Cash rolls out a lineup of seven left-handed hitters to counter Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Zunino started the first two games of the series, going a collective 1-for-6 with a home run and two RBI.
Zunino went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in Tuesday's win over the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALDS.
Zunino welcomed J.A. Happ to the game by hitting a two-run homer in the second inning. The 29-year-old catcher slashed .147/.238/.360 throughout the 2020 regular season and is a boom-or-bust hitter at the bottom of the Rays' batting order.
Zunino went 2-for-3 with an RBI single and a run in a win over the Phillies on Saturday.
The struggling backstop enjoyed a rare multi-hit effort, just the second of his difficult 2020 season. Zunino's power upside and solid work with the pitching staff keeps him in the lineup, and that's likely to remain in the case in the upcoming postseason when the stakes get exponentially higher.
Zunino is not in the lineup Sunday against the Phillies, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.
Zunino started the past three games and will take a seat after going 3-for-9 with one double, one run and one RBI. Michael Perez receives the start behind the plate in the season finale.
Zunino isn't starting Tuesday's game against the Mets.
Zunino returned from the injured list and started Sunday, but he'll get a breather Tuesday as the Rays prepare for the playoffs. Michael Perez will start behind the dish.
Zunino (oblique) was activated off the 10-day injured list Sunday and is starting behind the plate and batting eighth against the Orioles, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
Zunino has been sidelined since late August with the left oblique strain, but he'll rejoin the Rays for the final week of the regular season. The 29-year-old has a .133/.235/.383 slash line with four homers through 23 games and should reclaim the primary role at catcher.
Zunino (oblique) is expected to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list Sunday, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.
Zunino traveled with the Rays during their current road trip, and manager Kevin Cash said Saturday that he's in a "good spot." As a result, he could return to action Sunday after missing just over three weeks with a left oblique strain.
Zunino (oblique) is taking live at-bats Tuesday and could travel with the Rays during their upcoming road trip, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Zunino has been sidelined since the end of August due to a left oblique strain, but he's been progressing recently. He hit in the batting cage Friday and will advance to live at-bats Tuesday. If all goes well, manager Kevin Cash said that the catcher could travel with the team during the upcoming road trip that runs from Thursday in Baltimore until next Wednesday in New York.
Zunino (oblique) hit in the batting cage and did defensive drills before Friday's game against the Red Sox, the Associated Press reports.
The veteran backstop continues to make progress each day with respect to his activity level. The fact Zunino is up to taking swings in the batting cage certainly speaks well to how his oblique is progressing and lends credence to the notion he could be activated from the injured list in relatively short order.
Zunino (obique) took light swings, played catch and did some running Thursday, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports.
Manager Kevin Cash described Zunino's array of activities as a "big step in the right direction" for the backstop, who went on the injured list Aug. 29. Zunino is still expected back before the conclusion of the regular season, but how many games he'll have a chance to get in before the start of the postseason remains firmly up in the air.
Zunino (oblique) has been making progress in recent days, but he's still expected to be sidelined for "a little bit longer," Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. "He's progressing, but it's going to take some time, though," manager Kevin Cash said. "He feels better today than he did three days ago, and he felt better three days ago than he did a week ago, so that's a good thing."
Zunino is first eligible to come off the injured list Thursday, and it remains to be seen if "a little bit longer" means until that point or beyond. The slugging backstop had been slashing just .133/.235/.383 across 68 plate appearances prior to being sidelined, and he's seen Michael Perez go 4-for-8 with six RBI in his last two starts.
Zunino (oblique) was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Zunino wasn't in the Rays' lineup for a second consecutive game with left oblique tightness, and he'll get additional time to recover while on the injured list. Michael Perez should get the bulk of the playing time at catcher, and Kevan Smith was recalled in a corresponding move.
Zunino (oblique) is not in the starting lineup against the Marlins on Saturday, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.
Zunino was scratched from Friday's lineup due to left oblique tightness, and it appears as though he will be unavailable for the second straight game. Michael Perez will fill in behind the plate and bat ninth again.
Zunino was scratched from Friday's lineup against the Marlins with left oblique tightness, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
It's unclear how Zunino suffered the injury, but Michael Perez will step in to handle the catching duties while batting ninth. The severity of the issue isn't yet known, and whether Zunino misses any additional time remains to be seen.
Zunino is not in Wednesday's lineup against the Orioles.
He is hitting .133 with three home runs and a 46.9 percent strikeout rate in 45 at-bats this month. Michael Perez will start at catcher and bat eighth.
Zunino went 2-for-3 with two doubles in a loss to the Blue Jays on Monday.
The veteran backstop still has a long way to go to prop his offensive numbers up to acceptable levels, but going by the extremely low bar he'd previously set this season, Zunino is swinging a hot bat the moment. The 29-year-old is 4-for-15 with Monday's pair of two-baggers, two home runs and four RBI over his last five contests, a proverbial oasis in the desert in a very difficult campaign overall. Zunino's struggles prior to the current stretch were such that his four hits over the last five contests have quickly boosted his season average 45 points, but he still carries an anemic .136 figure over 66 plate appearances.
Zunino is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Blue Jays, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports.
Zunino will take a seat for the matinee game after starting at catcher in three of the Rays' previous four contests. Michael Perez will step in behind the plate Sunday and will bat ninth.
|Last 7 Games|
|10/23||vs LAD||L 2-6||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|10/15||@ HOU||L 3-4||4||0||2||0||0||0||0|
|10/14||@ HOU||L 3-4||3||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|10/13||@ HOU||W 5-2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|10/12||vs HOU||W 4-2||2||1||1||1||1||0||0|
|10/11||vs HOU||W 2-1||3||0||1||0||1||0||0|
|10/09||vs NYY||W 2-1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2019||AFA-Charlotte Stone Crab||2||6||3||3||1||0||0||1||2||3||0||0||.500||.625||.667|