Rays hoping 2016 injuries mostly behind them

Duffy, Souza, Morrison, Rasmus 'moving along'; Ramos not ready until July

Rays hoping 2016 injuries mostly behind them

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays camp opens for pitchers and catchers on Tuesday, and medical concerns will be swirling in the background -- specifically, those surrounding new catcher Wilson Ramos, shortstop Matt Duffy, right-fielder Steven Souza Jr., new outfielder Colby Rasmus and first baseman Logan Morrison.

"Most of them, we expect to be moving along at a controlled pace during Spring Training, expecting that they'll be ready by Opening Day," said Chaim Bloom, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations. "If not, then shortly thereafter."

Duffy joined the Rays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in the deal that sent left-hander Matt Moore to the Giants. He played in 21 games for the Rays, hitting .276 with a home run and seven RBIs before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left heel.

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"[Duffy has] done great since the surgery, and it's just a matter of bringing him along," Bloom said. "Making sure we're doing it at a good pace and getting him ready for the season."

Duffy's bases-clearing double

Souza (hip), Morrison (left wrist) and Rasmus (hip, ear, hernia) all dealt with medical issues, and they had surgeries as a result.

"Those three guys, we're going to need to bring them along at the right pace," Bloom said. "But hopefully they can be ready by Opening Day. And the worst case, if we do have a small setback, that it won't be a big one."

Ramos signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Rays in December. Tampa Bay was able to sign a catcher like him because he's coming off knee surgery, having torn his right ACL on Sept. 26. He will not likely be ready to play until July, and he probably won't be able to catch until August.

Bloom on Ramos' health

"Ramos, we're going to learn as he goes along," Bloom said. "We know he's going to be longer. We've talked about it before. We don't exactly know when. ... We knew when we signed him he's got very high expectations for when he'll be back, and that's great.

"He has worked his tail off trying to get back on the field. And he's very motivated. Really wants to make an impact. We're not going to hold him back, we just don't want to do anything that's going to jeopardize his health."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.