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Rays sign top Draft pick Greg Jones

Shortstop to start at Hudson Valley; Glasnow making progress, while Wendle nears return
@juanctoribio
June 11, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays announced Tuesday that the club has signed first-round Draft pick Greg Jones. According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Rays signed Jones for $3,027,000, which is the full slot value for the 22nd overall pick in the Draft. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays announced Tuesday that the club has signed first-round Draft pick Greg Jones. According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Rays signed Jones for $3,027,000, which is the full slot value for the 22nd overall pick in the Draft.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a kid,” Jones said Tuesday. “I’m definitely excited. I’m glad to be here, and I’m glad it’s with the Rays.”

Jones and his family were at Tropicana Field to make the signing official, but it wasn’t the first time at the Trop for the 21-year-old shortstop. When he was six years old, Jones and his father made it to a couple of games against the Yankees.

In fact, Jones’ first jersey was a Devil Rays jersey with the number 22 on the back -- the pick he was taken with on Draft night. He also played for the Devil Rays during his Little League days.

“[Tropicana Field] feels a little bit like my size now,” Jones laughed. “It looked a lot bigger back then. I just can’t wait to be playing at a place like this.”

Last season with UNC-Wilmington, Jones hit 12 doubles, nine triples and five home runs, with 36 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 63 games. The switch-hitter ranked fifth among Division I players and led the Colonial Athletic Association in steals. He also led the conference in on-base percentage, triples, runs and walks. He was named the conference’s Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Tournament, helping Wilmington clinch an appearance in the NCAA Regionals.

“Greg is an excellent baseball player with the physical ability to impact the game both offensively and defensively,” said Rays director of amateur scouting Rob Metzler via a press release. “His bat speed, foot speed and athleticism should allow for continued development to the highest levels of the game.”

Now that Jones has been signed to his first professional contract, the young shortstop will go back home for a little while before reporting to Hudson Valley to play for the Renegades, the Rays’ Class A Short Season affiliate.

Despite the possibility of him one day moving to the outfield due to his elite speed, Jones will begin his pro career playing shortstop.

“He’s going to be a shortstop for the Hudson Valley Renegades this summer,” said Metzler. “But as I said on Draft night, we’re not full of answers. We think he’s an impactful defensive player, whether that’s at shortstop or another position in the future -- we think his tools are going to translate really well.”

Jones believes that a good work ethic will propel him through the Rays’ organization.

"It takes a lot to be living away from home, living with random people,” Jones said. “I think it’s all in the person’s work ethic, to be honest, to make it to the next level.”

Injury updates

Tampa Bay starter Tyler Glasnow, who has been sidelined since May 11 with a right forearm strain, threw from 90 feet for the first time since the injury and said he felt “really good” after the session. The right-hander indicated that he will throw from 90 feet again over the next couple of days before throwing off the mound, which could happen over the next week.

“I talked to him yesterday and I know yesterday was a good day for him, too,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Hopefully [he] just continues to see the progress that he needs to see. He probably needs to get the kinks out a little bit, but also the mental side effect of going down with an injury. But I’m glad everything is progressing well and he seems to be on the right track.”

While Glasnow is still at least a month away from returning to the big league club, it appears the team is close to getting infielder Joey Wendle back. Wendle, who has been out since April 25 with a fractured right wrist, will play his second consecutive nine-inning game with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday and could rejoin the Major League team over the next couple of days.

“He’s getting close,” Cash said. “We’re going to talk to him and see how he’s doing. We’re optimistic that we’re going to see him on this homestand. I believe he’ll play tonight and then most likely come back here and see how he’s doing for the day game.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.