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Duffy thriving after missing entire 2017 season

Third baseman out of lineup Wednesday to get two days 'off his feet'
MLB.com @wwchastain

HOUSTON -- Rays third baseman Matt Duffy entered Wednesday with the sixth-highest batting average in the American League at .317, which is quite a marvel after he missed all of 2017 with a left heel injury.

Fortunately for Duffy and the Rays, he's been healthy this season. With Thursday's off-day, manager Kevin Cash saw the opportunity to rest Duffy for two consecutive days and opted to sit his third baseman Wednesday night.

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HOUSTON -- Rays third baseman Matt Duffy entered Wednesday with the sixth-highest batting average in the American League at .317, which is quite a marvel after he missed all of 2017 with a left heel injury.

Fortunately for Duffy and the Rays, he's been healthy this season. With Thursday's off-day, manager Kevin Cash saw the opportunity to rest Duffy for two consecutive days and opted to sit his third baseman Wednesday night.

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"Any time we can rest Matt for two days, I think it's probably a good thing for him getting him off his feet," Cash said. "Overall taking care of him with the time that he missed last year."

Cash called it surprising, but not surprising, that Duffy has returned played well after missing an entire season.

"It's not surprising, because he's had the track record of doing it before," Cash said. "But any time you get a player that takes off that much time, pitcher, hitter, it doesn't matter. To get back in that rhythm and then perform at such a high level, I think it's a huge credit to Matt and the way he prepares and how hard he worked during the offseason, and then the way he continues to prepare throughout the season."

Video: TB@NYY: Duffy belts a solo homer to left field

Duffy said he "couldn't be happier" with his health, but having two consecutive days off gives him a chance to "get my feet back under me."

"When I have a second off-day in a row, you almost feel like it's Opening Day again," Duffy said.

As for his performance so far this season, Duffy said he had confidence in himself.

"Taking a year off, it's more on the body catching up," Duffy said. "Once you get some games under your belt, you kind of get to that midseason form, and it doesn't feel any different than if I played last year or not."

While not playing last season, Duffy considered many of the mental aspects of hitting, which brought him to the reality he'd had times where he had been "chasing hits," rather than slowing the game down and having an approach.

"I just try to keep it as simple as possible," Duffy said. "I think if you can do that mentally, the results will take care of themselves."

Injury updates
• Right-hander Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) threw from 120 feet on Wednesday at Tropicana Field. He is expected to throw a bullpen session on Friday.

• Second baseman Daniel Robertson (left hamstring strain) worked out at Tropicana Field on Wednesday after playing second in a rehab game for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Tuesday night, going 1-for-2 with a single and a hit by pitch. He is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday.

• Third baseman Christian Arroyo (left oblique strain) worked out at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, completing range-of-motion and core-stabilization exercises.

Draft update
According to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, the Rays' only unsigned pick from the first 10 rounds of the Draft is first-rounder Shane McClanahan. The pick value at No. 31 is $2,224,400.

Tampa Bay can pay McClanahan $2,400,100 without exceeding its pool and up to $3,020,880 without exceeding by more than 5 percent (and losing a future first-round pick).

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Matt Duffy