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Duffy shut down; Heredia makes Rays' roster

@juanctoribio
March 24, 2019

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Matt Duffy was headed to the injured list with a left hamstring issue after being scratched from Saturday’s game against the Tigers. After undergoing some tests, the injury will take a little bit more time than Duffy and the Rays had hoped. Manager Kevin Cash said

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Matt Duffy was headed to the injured list with a left hamstring issue after being scratched from Saturday’s game against the Tigers. After undergoing some tests, the injury will take a little bit more time than Duffy and the Rays had hoped.

Manager Kevin Cash said Sunday that the third baseman will be shut down “for some time” after the tests showed the issue could be hamstring and back related. With Duffy out, Yandy Diaz will get the start at third in Thursday's season opener against Justin Verlander and the Astros.

“We’re going to probably take our time, and he’ll probably go to some non-baseball activities for about two weeks,” Cash said. “Then see how he’s feeling after that.”

With Duffy missing significant time with the injury, outfielder Guillermo Heredia received the news that he will be on the team’s Opening Day roster.

“It went down to the wire, probably a little longer than we would’ve wanted, but he’s very, very deserving,” Cash said. “He’s going to complement our team well. He’s a great defender. A guy that can come off the bench and hit or run, be in there against lefties, and then we’ll see where we go. Between him and [Kevin Kiermaier], you have two elite-level center fielders.”

Heredia was acquired from Seattle in the same trade that brought Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay and has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions. By adding Heredia to the roster, the Rays will go into the season with six players capable of playing the outfield in Tommy Pham, Austin Meadows, Avisail Garcia, Kiermaier, Brandon Lowe and Heredia. The move also leaves the Rays with 13 position players on the Opening Day roster.

“Injuries are part of the game, and I’m just here to play ball," Heredia said. "I’ll be here helping the team win while I’m here. I don’t think about that. I only think about going out and living in the moment playing baseball. The rest isn’t up to me.”

Roster finalization on the horizon
With the decision to keep Heredia on the Opening Day roster, the last decision Tampa Bay will have to make appears to be regarding the last spot in the bullpen. Emilio Pagan, Adam Kolarek and Hunter Wood are the three pitchers battling for the last spot. All three are scheduled to pitch Monday against the Phillies.

“The decision won’t be defined by their outing [Monday],” Cash said. “If one guy pitches well and two guys don’t, we’re not picking that guy, but I think we’re hoping to have something done by the end of the game [Sunday] or the end of the day [Monday].”

Cash also said that left-hander Jalen Beeks, who fanned seven over three shutout frames during the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday, will be on the Opening Day roster.

Glasnow’s last spring outing
Coming into the spring, Tyler Glasnow’s focus was on finding consistency and comfort in his new delivery. Glasnow added a slight pause in his throwing motion with hopes to gain more control with his pitches. Even with his struggles this spring, Glasnow has repeatedly said he feels comfortable with the changes to his delivery.

After allowing three earned runs over four innings of work on Sunday against the Braves, Glasnow finished Grapefruit League play with a 9.59 ERA. Despite that, Glasnow will serve as the team’s No. 3 starter this season.

“I think in fairness to Tyler, it’s still a work in progress,” Cash said of Glasnow’s adjustments. “We’re going to see him continue to make progress. [Pitching coach Kyle Snyder] is on board. We’re all on board. I’m on board. Tyler is going to be a big part of our rotation.”

Royals return McWilliams
On Sunday, the Rays announced the Royals returned right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams to Tampa Bay. The Royals selected McWilliams in the Rule 5 Draft in December, but the right-hander struggled this spring, finishing with a 15.43 ERA in four appearances. McWilliams will not be placed on the Rays’ 40-man roster and will report to Minor League camp in Port Charlotte. The 6-foot-7 right-hander finished with a 6-7 record and a 5.02 ERA in 19 appearances in Double-A Montgomery last season.

Up next
The Rays make the drive to Clearwater on Monday to take on the Phillies. Wilmer Font will get the start for the Rays, while Hunter Wood, Emilio Pagan, Adam Kolarek and Diego Castillo are also slated to pitch. Font, Wood, Pagan and Kolarek remain in a battle for the last few spots in the Rays bullpen.

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