BALTIMORE -- The Rays have designated for assignment Hak-Ju Lee to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Luke Maile, whom the team selected from Triple-A Durham as one of its September callups.
Lee, 24, was one of the marquee players the Rays acquired in the Jan. 8, 2011 trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs. Unfortunately for the shortstop who hails from South Korea, he has fought injuries throughout his time in the Rays' system.
In 2011, his first season with the organization, Lee, rated the Rays' No. 25 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, split time between Class A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery, hitting a combined .292 with five home runs, 30 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. At that point, his offense appeared to be close to catching up to his superlative defense.
Unfortunately for Lee, he suffered a season-ending oblique strain on Aug. 11, 2012. Then 15 games into the 2013 season he suffered torn ligaments in his left knee and was lost for the season.
Once thought to be the Rays' shortstop of the future, Lee has never made it to the Major Leagues.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.