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Sizemore has three hits in Rays' debut

Batting second as DH, veteran delivers RBI single; Andriese optioned to Triple-A to open roster spot

ST. PETERSBURG -- Grady Sizemore got his first start for the Rays and banged out three hits in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Red Sox after being selected from Class A Charlotte.

To make room on the active roster, the Rays optioned right-hander Matt Andriese to Triple-A Durham. Desmond Jennings was moved to the 60-day disabled list to get Sizemore on the 40-man roster.

"I'm just happy for the opportunity," Sizemore said. "Happy to be a part of this team and what they've got going this season. Look forward to contributing any way I can."

Batting second as the designated hitter, Sizemore got his first hit with his new team in the third when he blooped a single into center field. He finished with three hits in five at-bats, including an RBI single.

"That's not an easy thing to do," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He came in and had good at-bats. We probably anticipated that he would have some really good at-bats. But to come in and get three hits was nice. Nice boost for us."

Video: BOS@TB: Sizemore lifts a single in his Rays' debut

Sizemore, 32, was a three-time All-Star for Cleveland (2008-10) before dealing with a series of injuries. He began the season with the Phillies, but was released June 1. The Rays signed him June 15.

"We're excited," Cash said. "[Sizemore] took some time off when he left Philly. He went to Port Charlotte just to get his feet under him. Get some at-bats, get some timing. He's done that. And we're going to face a string of right-handed pitching in these upcoming games and hopefully he can provide a little boost in our lineup. He's a veteran hitter. See if we can click a little bit."

Sizemore played for the Red Sox in 2014. Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked if what he saw of Sizemore in Philadelphia this season resembled what he saw of him in Boston last season.

"You saw similar bat speed, you saw similar action to his movements in the field and on the basepaths," Farrell said. "Obviously it's been an up-and-down return since the number of surgeries he's gone through.

"I think anytime you see a player go through the physical challenges he's gone through, to see him get back to the big leagues, it's a good day for him. Certainly he being in the lineup today for Tampa is a payoff for all the hard work he's put in to get back."

Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton was the Indians' hitting coach when Sizemore played for the Indians. He believes that Sizemore's health will drive his performance.

"When the guy was healthy for five or six years, he was one of the elite players in the game," Shelton said. "So it's just a matter of evaluating where he's at healthy-wise."

Cash said that Sizemore could play some outfield, but he'll mostly be used at DH. Sizemore believes he has something left in the tank.

"Yeah. I still feel like I'm recovering from all those lost years and all those injuries," Sizemore said. "And I just want a chance to play. I want to keep playing. And try and get stronger and get better and see what's left."

Andriese allowed no runs on one hit in six innings against the Red Sox to pick up the win Saturday.

"Can't say enough about what he did, especially coming off the performance [Saturday] night," Cash said. "He looks like he's really figuring some things out. His last three outings were really good. And to do what he did last night against a very good team was pretty impressive."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Desmond Jennings, Matt Andriese, Grady Sizemore