Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Wendle gets first start in outfield; Archer update

Rays looking to create more versatility, expand lineup options
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- In a move designed to provide lineup flexibility and relieve an infield logjam, the Rays started infielder Joey Wendle in left field Saturday against the Yankees. Rays manager Kevin Cash said infielder Daniel Robertson also could see outfield duty soon.

Wendle said he prepared for the start by putting in three days of work with field coordinator Rocco Baldelli, a former Rays outfielder, and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. PETERSBURG -- In a move designed to provide lineup flexibility and relieve an infield logjam, the Rays started infielder Joey Wendle in left field Saturday against the Yankees. Rays manager Kevin Cash said infielder Daniel Robertson also could see outfield duty soon.

Wendle said he prepared for the start by putting in three days of work with field coordinator Rocco Baldelli, a former Rays outfielder, and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

View Full Game Coverage

"Joey is a really good athlete," Cash said. "Is he going to have hiccups out there? Probably. Is this the most ideal building [Tropicana Field] for him to do it in? Probably not. Is this the most ideal lineup for him, because [the Yankees] hit the ball really hard and really high? Probably not.

"But we need to get him out there. This is going to allow us more versatility and flexibility in the lineup every night."

Wendle had one chance in Saturday's 4-0 win, catching a fly ball off the bat of Neil Walker in the third inning. Wendle was lifted after batting in the sixth inning, going 0-for-3 on the day.

"He looked really good and felt comfortable," Cash said.

Robertson was just reinstated from the disabled list. With Matt Duffy stationed at third base, the Rays have Adeiny Hechavarria, Willy Adames, Wendle and Robertson in the middle infield. There's also versatile infielder Christian Arroyo, who's currently on the DL due to a left oblique muscle strain.

"I feel like I'm ready," Wendle said. "Hopefully it's a non-story, and hopefully this will give more flexibility when making up the lineup card."

Wendle said he believed the last time he played in the outfield was as a youth, with "two emergency innings when I was 13 or 14." He said the biggest challenge was dealing with Tropicana Field's white roof. Wendle said the depth perception makes for a different reaction to the roof when playing the outfield. "[Kiermaier] said it can be hard to field a dirty white ball against a dirty white roof," Wendle said. "You have to embrace the difficulty of it. You have to be yourself, but become absorbed in the position you're in. Today, I'm a left fielder. I have to fully embrace that while I'm out there."

Injury updates

• Rays right-hander Chris Archer, on the disabled list since June 5 due to a left abdominal strain, is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Monday. If all goes well, it could be followed by a simulated game on the way toward a possible return to the rotation in early July.

Archer said he was "highly encouraged" following a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday.

• Cash said right-hander Jake Faria, on the DL since May 23 due to a left oblique strain, could also throw a bullpen session Monday, although his return is on a longer timetable. Cash said Faria threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, in a recent bullpen session.

• The news wasn't as good for right-hander Yonny Chirinos, who has been working at Triple-A Durham after being reinstated from the DL (right forearm strain) on June 4. Cash said Chirinos is back on the DL with right shoulder soreness.

Tweet from @RaysBaseball: Reversing it back.#Rays20 pic.twitter.com/IerNSbwixg

Throwback jerseys

The Rays, celebrating their 20th anniversary, wore Majestic Athletic white alternate throwback Devil Rays jerseys Saturday with the original gradient Devil Rays design that was worn in the franchise's first three seasons (1998-2000), along with a 20th-anniversary patch on the left sleeve.

Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Rays, Joey Wendle