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Duffy activated, returns to leadoff spot for Rays

Reliever Pruitt assigned to Triple-A in corresponding move
Special to MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Rays won six of the seven games they played with third baseman Matt Duffy sidelined, but getting Duffy right back into the mix was a no-brainer for Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash.

Not only was Duffy activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday against the Red Sox, Cash slotted him right back at the top of the Rays' batting order before the Rays' 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Duffy went 1-for-5.

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BOSTON -- The Rays won six of the seven games they played with third baseman Matt Duffy sidelined, but getting Duffy right back into the mix was a no-brainer for Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash.

Not only was Duffy activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday against the Red Sox, Cash slotted him right back at the top of the Rays' batting order before the Rays' 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Duffy went 1-for-5.

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"Everybody filled in nicely, but Duff is a big part of our offense," Cash said.

Duffy had been out since sustaining a strained right hamstring on April 16. He played a rehab game with the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs on Thursday. Before his injury, he posted a .267/.302/.350 line, with two doubles and one home run.

Daniel Robertson, who made five straight starts at third, started at second base Friday, with Joey Wendle, who has been the team's primary second baseman, getting the night off. Wendle has a .338/.405/.508 line in 74 plate appearances in his first season with the Rays.

"I told him he wasn't playing today because he hasn't been swinging the bat very well," Cash said with a sly smile.

Having Duffy back will allow Cash to rotate his infielders, something he said experience has taught him is necessary to keep everyone fresh deep into the season.

"It'll benefit them," the manager said. "They might not realize it right then in the short term, but it will benefit them as we get deeper into the season."

Video: PHI@TB: Pruitt retires Kingery to end top of the 9th

To make room for Duffy on the roster, Tampa Bay optioned Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham. Pruitt has a 4.91 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, all out of the bullpen. His last outing was April 14, when he pitched five innings in relief, allowing two runs (one earned).

Pruitt will continue to pitch out of the bullpen for Durham, though his extended time away from the big league mound means he'll need to be stretched back out to the 50-60 pitches he was throwing at a time while with the Rays.

"I'm pretty confident we're going to see him again," Cash said.

The move brings the Rays back down to 12 pitchers on their roster.

Brian MacPherson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.

Tampa Bay Rays, Matt Duffy