Bill Carey
Wednesday July 25th, 2012

The Diamondbacks traded Ryan Roberts to the Tampa Bay Rays. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded infielder Ryan Roberts to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, sending the fan favorite from one playoff chase to another, according to reports.

Arizona had designated Roberts for assignment earlier Tuesday in order to make space on its roster for shortstop John McDonald.

Roberts, known as "Tat Man," became popular among fans for his many tattoos and his all-out play. The 31-year-old Roberts bounced back-and-forth between the minors and majors for many years. Last season, he started at third base for the Diamondbacks as the team won the NL West.

This year, Roberts is hitting .250 with six home runs. He gives Tampa Bay more flexibility as star third baseman Evan Longoria tries to return from a partially torn left hamstring. Longoria hasn't played since April 30. The addition of Roberts is insurance if Longoria struggles with the injury throughout the rest of the season. It also could help Longoria come back quicker by allowing him to serve as designated hitter.

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