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What to expect from Adames with Rays

MLB.com

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Tuesday that they have recalled shortstop Willy Adames from Triple-A Durham ahead of the club's series opener against the Red Sox. He'll make his Major League debut as the Rays' starting shortstop, batting fifth in the contest.

The key return for Tampa Bay in the July 2014 Trade Deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers, the 22-year-old Adames is set to become Major League Baseball's ninth-youngest player when he takes the field Tuesday.

The Tampa Bay Rays announced Tuesday that they have recalled shortstop Willy Adames from Triple-A Durham ahead of the club's series opener against the Red Sox. He'll make his Major League debut as the Rays' starting shortstop, batting fifth in the contest.

The key return for Tampa Bay in the July 2014 Trade Deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers, the 22-year-old Adames is set to become Major League Baseball's ninth-youngest player when he takes the field Tuesday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The Rays' No. 2 prospect and No. 22 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100, Adames has been a model of consistency on both sides of the ball during his professional career, and especially since joining Tampa Bay's system.

Originally signed by Detroit at the outset of the 2012-13 international period, Adames was a little-known commodity when the Rays landed him as part of a three-team blockbuster with Seattle. The Dominican Republic native has since established himself as one of the more consistent prospects in the game while making a slow but impressive climb through the Minor Leagues.

Adames had a solid unspectacular first full season in Tampa Bay's system, producing a .258/.342/.379 line with 34 extra-base hits and 10 steals over 106 games at age 19 in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. He blossomed the following year at Double-A Montgomery, slashing .274/.372/.430 and setting career highs in home runs (11), doubles (31) and stolen bases (13), all while improving upon his strikeout and walk rates from the previous year. Adames garnered honors as a Southern League All-Star along the way and represented the World Team at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July.

Advancing to Triple-A for the first time in 2017, Adames nearly mirrored his batting line from the previous year by hitting .277/.360/.415 with 10 homers and 30 doubles over 130 games. He returned to the International League in 2018 and was enjoying arguably the best offensive campaign of his career, hitting .311/.387/.466 through 40 games at the time of his promotion.

Video: Top Prospects: Willy Adames, SS, Rays

More than just a consistent producer, Adames has the requisite tools and baseball acumen to become an impactful everyday shortstop, perhaps even an All-Star, in the Major Leagues.

Adames' natural hitting ability stems from a combination of plus bat speed and advanced barrel control that enables him to consistently produce hard line-drive contact across the entire field from the right side of the plate. His approach is similarly advanced, as he's long showed knowledge of the strike zone and knack for working deep counts. It has enabled Adames to coax walks at a 12.6 percent rate for his career, albeit with some steady swing-and-miss tendencies (22.9 percent strikeout rate).

Hitting for power will never be a focal point of Adames' game, but the 6-foot, 200-pounder has shown in the past two-plus seasons that he's capable of clearing his share of fences. That trend should continue as he adds strength to his athletic and projectable frame, and many scouts believe some of his doubles will eventually translate to home runs.

Overall, Adames' blend of hard contact and patient approach has led evaluators to peg him as an above-average hitter at the highest level, one capable of hitting .280+ with double-digit home runs and plenty of extra-base pop to go along with strong on-base skills.

On the other side of the ball, Adames compensates for his average speed with excellent instincts and quick feet at shortstop, where he profiles as a plus defender with soft hands, smooth footwork and plus arm strength. And while he has committed at least 20 errors at the position in four straight seasons, Adames, like many young shortstops, is likely to chip away at that total as he hones his skills and learns to better control the speed of the game.

What's more, Adames has endeared himself to Rays club officials with his outstanding makeup, as those within the organization are quick to acknowledge his leadership skills both on and off the field. They believe those qualities, along with his impressive physical tools, give him a chance to be a franchise cornerstone at a premium position.

With Adeiny Hechavarria on the 10-day DL and Joey Wendle now on the paternity list, Adames will have an immediate opportunity to make an impact in his first big league exposure. And while the glut of middle-infield talent on Tampa Bay's roster suggests that his callup could be short-lived, it's clear that the Rays are ready to see what the 22-year-old shortstop has to offer at the highest level.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Tampa Bay Rays

Homer off Sale in debut? 'Amazing,' says Adames

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Willy Adames didn't take long to make an impression in The Show during the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

The highly touted shortstop, who is ranked as the organization's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, homered in his second at-bat, taking Boston ace Chris Sale deep to left field in the fourth inning to get Tampa Bay on the board and cut the Red Sox's lead to 3-1. Wearing No. 1, Adames started at shortstop, batting fifth.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Willy Adames didn't take long to make an impression in The Show during the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

The highly touted shortstop, who is ranked as the organization's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, homered in his second at-bat, taking Boston ace Chris Sale deep to left field in the fourth inning to get Tampa Bay on the board and cut the Red Sox's lead to 3-1. Wearing No. 1, Adames started at shortstop, batting fifth.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was amazing," Adames said. "When you see all those guys on TV, then you come here and hit a bomb against Sale. Amazing. I can't tell you how happy I am right now, other than not getting the win."

Tweet from @RaysBaseball: Same, @willya02. Same.#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/G5JiEuRQZT

And it almost didn't happen -- Adames arrived about 30 minutes before game time. 

"They told me at 1:20 that I had a flight at 2:50, so I missed the first flight," Adames said. "I took the other [flight] at 3:30, and it was pretty crazy -- I got here late, too."

Willy Adames missed his first flight

Adames became the fifth Rays player to homer in his Major League debut, joining Brandon Guyer, Elijah Dukes, Delmon Young and Brent Abernathy.

"That was pretty special for him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The home run, the at-bats, the intensity. ... That's the second guy here recently who has come up between him and Christian Arroyo, who have definitely looked the part with the confidence and it's good to see."

Adames was acquired in the trade that sent left-hander David Price to the Tigers in July 2014. On Wednesday night, Adames will be in the lineup to face Price, who is Boston's scheduled starter.

"I'm really excited about it, because that's the guy I got traded for," Adames said. "I wanted to face him as soon as I got traded. So tomorrow's the day."

Video: Must C Classic: Adames hits HR off Sale for first hit

In 40 games at Triple-A Durham this season, Adames hit .311/.387/.466 with four home runs. In '17, he hit .277/.360/.415 with 10 homers and 11 steals in 130 games for Durham. Cash told reporters that Adames will likely return to Durham after several days with the team. Adames said he understood.

"That's part of the business, I guess," Adames said. "I'm just trying to do my thing over here. Trying to do my job, trying to do my best, trying to help the team win."

At 22 years and 262 days, Adames became the youngest positional player to make his Major League debut for the Rays since outfielder Wil Myers on June 18, 2013, in Boston and the youngest infielder since Reid Brignac on July 4, 2008, against Kansas City. Adames is the third-youngest active player in the American League behind Gleyber Torres (21 years, 160 days) and Rafael Devers (21 years, 210 days).

Video: BOS@TB: Cash and Adames discuss his MLB debut

Adames allowed that the home run "calmed me down a little bit."

"Because I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said.

Other than the home run, Adames had three strikeouts swinging. He played well in the field, starting two double plays and turning the pivot on another.

Video: BOS@TB: Adames starts the 6-4-3 double play

Tuesday's move became necessary when Joey Wendle was put on the paternity list as he and his wife, Lindsay, became the parents of a baby boy.

"Well, first and foremost, congrats to Joey and Lindsay Wendle, baby boy, all good from what we're understanding, that's exciting," Cash said. "I think kind of the perfect time. Joey's a smart player. He ducks out when Sale and Price were pitching. That was a great idea on his part.

Video: BOS@TB: Robertson turns, Adames fires to first for DP

"But it presented an opportunity for Willy to come up here. He's going to play two or three of the next days. I'm not sure how long Joey's going to be gone, but anticipate definitely today and tomorrow. And then we'll kind of see where we go from there. And then Willy's going to go back."

Rays starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is also unavailable, as he landed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring sustained in a game against the Angels last Thursday.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames

Rays call up Arroyo as Gomez lands on DL

Duffy (hamstring) eyes Friday return to lineup against Angels
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The Rays placed Carlos Gomez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right groin before Wednesday's series finale against the Royals -- and Christian Arroyo has been called up to take his place on the roster.

Meanwhile, Matt Duffy (tight right hamstring), who also left Tuesday night's game, could return to action as early as Friday against the Angels in Anaheim.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Rays placed Carlos Gomez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right groin before Wednesday's series finale against the Royals -- and Christian Arroyo has been called up to take his place on the roster.

Meanwhile, Matt Duffy (tight right hamstring), who also left Tuesday night's game, could return to action as early as Friday against the Angels in Anaheim.

View Full Game Coverage

Arroyo, who was the headlining prospect of the trade that sent Evan Longoria to the Giants last December, has yet to make his Rays debut.

The 22-year-old infielder is ranked as the club's No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, as well as baseball's No. 80 overall prospect and the No. 4 third-base prospect.

"Well we've got some [left-handed starters] coming into play in Anaheim," manager Kevin Cash said. "He'll get some opportunities. He's played mostly third base. But he's versatile in the fact he can play short, second and third. We saw all of that in Spring Training. And especially with Matt nursing a little bit of a hamstring. I'm not quite sure when he's going to be available, but we're hoping it's just going to be a couple of days."

Arroyo made his Major League debut for the Giants last season, hitting .192 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 34 games with San Francisco. Following the trade, he started the 2018 season at Triple-A Durham, where he is hitting .200 with a homer and eight RBIs in 17 games.

Gomez left Tuesday night's win over the Royals due to the groin injury. The 32-year-old outfielder is batting .200 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 37 games in his first season with Tampa Bay.

"Obviously, the way he plays, how intense he is running the bases, playing the outfield, probably the smart [move was] to get him off his feet for 10 days and not allow him to aggravate it," Cash said. "It will be a loss.

"I know Carlos hasn't swung the bat the way he's capable of, but you know eventually he's going to get hot. We're still waiting, but maybe this will give him a little bit of a blow, rest his mind as much as his groin, and come back and get us going once he does come back."

Duffy told reporters that his hamstring had improved from Tuesday night, which encouraged him about his chances for a quick return to the lineup.

"I think it feels about like it did after I strained it [earlier in the season] and took three days off," Duffy said. "And the last time we took four days off before we started ramping things up, so maybe a day or two here. It's not quite perfect, which is why I'm not in the lineup, but it's not far off.

"... Running the bases is the main concern. You get to the point where you're torn between either hurting the team by not being able to run hard, or hurting yourself because you do run hard. I think we're probably going to play it a little safe. If I need one extra day, first day in Anaheim [Thursday], I don't think that's out of question to take two days off and then go from there."

Duffy has been one of the Rays' most productive players at the plate. He's hitting .322 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Christian Arroyo, Matt Duffy, Carlos Gomez

Yarbrough to start tonight vs. Braves

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed lefty Ryan Yarbrough will start Wednesday against the Braves, but wouldn't commit to Yarbrough as the the club's No. 4 starter beyond that outing.

"With the lineup that they're featuring, if we're being completely honest, they throw a lot of lefties at the top," Cash said. "With [Yarbrough] being left-handed, I think he can give us some length." 

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed lefty Ryan Yarbrough will start Wednesday against the Braves, but wouldn't commit to Yarbrough as the the club's No. 4 starter beyond that outing.

"With the lineup that they're featuring, if we're being completely honest, they throw a lot of lefties at the top," Cash said. "With [Yarbrough] being left-handed, I think he can give us some length." 

View Full Game Coverage

The Rays are down a starter with right-hander Yonny Chirinos landing on the disabled list with a right forearm strain last week. He's expected to be out for about a month.

Yarbrough is coming off a dominant relief appearance against the Blue Jays on Friday. The lefty allowed one hit over five scoreless innings, retiring the final 15 batters he faced. He has given up just two runs over his last nine innings pitched.

Video: TOR@TB: Yarbrough punches out Morales in the 4th

Worth noting
• This week's two-game set will be the first time the Rays get to see the Braves' young duo of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies up close. Heading into the season, the Braves came in with the No. 2-ranked farm system, according to MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo, while the Rays were ranked No. 4.

"It certainly seems like they have a core of young players that are very talented," Cash said before Tuesday's game against the Braves. "We feel pretty strongly about our core and hopefully, when our guys get up, they can have some success just like these guys are having."

• With Saturday's doubleheader scheduled vs. the Orioles, Cash says that righty Chris Archer will start one of the two games, while the other game will probably be a bullpen day.

"We don't know who that would be, but we'll probably find out as we get closer to that day."

Juan Toribio is a reporter for MLB.com

Tampa Bay Rays, Ryan Yarbrough

Chirinos (forearm) to DL; Rays recall Yarbrough

Special to MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Rays announced ahead of Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Tigers that rookie Yonny Chirinos was placed on the 10-day DL with a right forearm strain, retroactive to Sunday. Ryan Yarbrough was recalled from Triple-A Durham and joined the team in Detroit.

Chirinos experienced some discomfort in his right forearm while throwing his bullpen session Tuesday, manager Kevin Cash said, of the club's No. 21 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline. The Rays said they don't believe it is anything serious, but won't know the extent of the injury until he sees a doctor when the team returns home.

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DETROIT -- The Rays announced ahead of Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Tigers that rookie Yonny Chirinos was placed on the 10-day DL with a right forearm strain, retroactive to Sunday. Ryan Yarbrough was recalled from Triple-A Durham and joined the team in Detroit.

Chirinos experienced some discomfort in his right forearm while throwing his bullpen session Tuesday, manager Kevin Cash said, of the club's No. 21 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline. The Rays said they don't believe it is anything serious, but won't know the extent of the injury until he sees a doctor when the team returns home.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's on the DL, but we've got to protect that kid," Cash said. "He's a big part of our season right now, going forward. When he complains, or any of them complain of something, we're going to be overcautious and get them checked out."

Yarbrough could potentially be in line to start Friday's game against Toronto. He is 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA in seven appearances with the Rays this season. His lone start came on April 15 against the Phillies, when he allowed two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings.

Yarbrough was optioned to Durham last week after picking up his first Major League win against Boston, as the team recalled Chih-Wei Hu.

Chirinos is 0-1 with a 3.71 ERA in five starts and a relief appearance this season.

Kyle Beery is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.

Tampa Bay Rays, Yonny Chirinos, Ryan Yarbrough

Where Rays' Top 30 prospects are starting season

MLB.com

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Rays' Top 30 prospects are starting the season:

1. Brent Honeywell (MLB No. 18), RHP -- Out for season
2. Willy Adames (MLB No. 22), SS/2B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
3. Brendan McKay (MLB No. 25), 1B/LHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
4. Jesus Sanchez (MLB No. 57), OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
5. Jake Bauers (MLB No. 64), OF/1B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
6. Christian Arroyo (MLB No. 82), 3B/SS -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
7. Lucius Fox, SS -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
8. Wander Franco, SS -- Extended spring training
9. Garrett Whitley, OF -- Out for season
10. Justin Williams, OF -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
11. Joshua Lowe, OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
12. Nick Solak, 2B -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
13. Joe McCarthy, OF/1B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
14. Austin Franklin, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
15. Brandon Lowe, 2B -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
16. Anthony Banda, LHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
17. Michael Mercado, RHP -- Extended spring training
18. Tobias Myers, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
19. Vidal Brujan, 2B -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
20. Ronaldo Hernandez, C -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
21. Yonny Chirinos, RHP -- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
22. Genesis Cabrera, LHP -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
23. Drew Strotman, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
24. Nick Ciuffo, C -- Suspended
25. Ryan Boldt, OF -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
26. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP -- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
27. Chih-Wei Hu, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
28. Resly Linares, LHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
29. Diego Castillo, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
30. Jaime Schultz, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)

With the 2018 season getting started, here's a look at where the Rays' Top 30 prospects are starting the season:

1. Brent Honeywell (MLB No. 18), RHP -- Out for season
2. Willy Adames (MLB No. 22), SS/2B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
3. Brendan McKay (MLB No. 25), 1B/LHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
4. Jesus Sanchez (MLB No. 57), OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
5. Jake Bauers (MLB No. 64), OF/1B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
6. Christian Arroyo (MLB No. 82), 3B/SS -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
7. Lucius Fox, SS -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
8. Wander Franco, SS -- Extended spring training
9. Garrett Whitley, OF -- Out for season
10. Justin Williams, OF -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
11. Joshua Lowe, OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
12. Nick Solak, 2B -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
13. Joe McCarthy, OF/1B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
14. Austin Franklin, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
15. Brandon Lowe, 2B -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
16. Anthony Banda, LHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
17. Michael Mercado, RHP -- Extended spring training
18. Tobias Myers, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
19. Vidal Brujan, 2B -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
20. Ronaldo Hernandez, C -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
21. Yonny Chirinos, RHP -- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
22. Genesis Cabrera, LHP -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
23. Drew Strotman, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
24. Nick Ciuffo, C -- Suspended
25. Ryan Boldt, OF -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
26. Ryan Yarbrough, LHP -- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
27. Chih-Wei Hu, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
28. Resly Linares, LHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
29. Diego Castillo, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
30. Jaime Schultz, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)

Rays prospect coverage | Rays Top 30 prospects stats

Team to watch
Triple-A Durham will be plenty exciting even with top prospect Honeywell out for the season following Tommy John surgery. Back for another year are Top 100 prospects Adames and Bauers, and they'll be joined by on-base machine McCarthy and offseason acquisition Arroyo. Banda, acquired in a three-team deal with the Yankees and D-backs, is expected to headline the Bulls' rotation, while Hu, Castillo and Schultz give the club a dynamic, late-inning bullpen trio.

Also of interest will be Class A Bowling Green, which will feature the same starting rotation that helped lead Class A Short Season Hudson Valley to a New York-Penn League title last season -- a group that includes McKay, Franklin, Myers, Strotman and Linares. On the other side of the ball, the Hot Rods will have two of the better defensive players in the system in Brujan and Hernandez.

Where baseball's top prospects are starting the 2018 season

Teams on MiLB.TV
Durham Bulls (AAA)
Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
Hudson Valley Renegades (A Short Season)

New faces
The Rays added a Top 100 prospect during the offseason in Arroyo, whom they acquired in a four-player package from the Giants in the December deal for Evan Longoria. The aforementioned three-team deal in February, meanwhile, netted the club Banda, and he, like Arroyo, comes with big league experience and therefore club control. The Rays acquired Solak in the same deal, continuing an offseason trend in which they targeted Minor League infielders with bat-first profiles.

On the shelf
Honeywell was likely to join the Rays' rotation early this year before a forearm injury suffered during a camp bullpen session in late February required Tommy John surgery, thus wiping out his entire 2018 season. Garrett Whitley, the team's first-round Draft pick in '15, also will miss the entire season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right labrum, and Ciuffo will be sidelined for the first 50 games in the wake of his second positive test for a drug of abuse in February.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Tampa Bay Rays

Whitley undergoes surgery for torn labrum

Rays' No. 9 prospect expected to miss rest of 2018 season
MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' farm system took another hit on Friday, when outfield prospect Garrett Whitley underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. 

Whitley, who is the club's No. 9 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is expected to miss the entire 2018 season.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' farm system took another hit on Friday, when outfield prospect Garrett Whitley underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. 

Whitley, who is the club's No. 9 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, is expected to miss the entire 2018 season.

View Full Game Coverage

"Labrum surgery today ... tough times only make the strong even stronger. Best believe I'm gone come back better than ever," Whitley wrote on Twitter, captioned to a picture of him in a sling.

Tweet from @RealGWhit: Labrum surgery today...tough times only make the strong even stronger. Best believe I���m gone come back better than ever pic.twitter.com/UF3dQQy3Sd

Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics confirmed Whitley's injury, noting, "He hurt himself diving for a ball."

The 13th overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Whitley played in a career-high 104 games last year, all with Class A Bowling Green, where he slashed .249/.362/.430 with 13 homers, 61 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. He also played in the Australian Baseball League this past winter, slashing .265/.384/.503 in 185 at-bats.

It was a bounce-back 2017 of sorts for the 21-year-old Whitley, who suffered a right hamstring injury that forced him to miss extended time in '16.

The Rays organization will already be without top prospect Brent Honeywell (No. 18 overall), who earlier this spring underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays

Arroyo enjoying comforts of home during ST

Special to MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For Rays third baseman Christian Arroyo, almost every ballpark on the Grapefruit League circuit feels like a home game.

The Tampa native grew up around the Spring Training parks in the bay area. On Saturday, the 22-year-old got the start at third base for the Rays' game against the Phillies in Clearwater, just a short drive south of where he grew up in Brooksville.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- For Rays third baseman Christian Arroyo, almost every ballpark on the Grapefruit League circuit feels like a home game.

The Tampa native grew up around the Spring Training parks in the bay area. On Saturday, the 22-year-old got the start at third base for the Rays' game against the Phillies in Clearwater, just a short drive south of where he grew up in Brooksville.

View Full Game Coverage

The Giants' first-round Draft pick (25th overall) out of Hernando High School in 2013, Arroyo was acquired in the blockbuster deal that sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco. The Rays' No. 6 overall prospect and the No. 5 third-base prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, was already in town when the news broke.

"When I found out I got traded, it was an easy transition for me," Arroyo said.

Spring Training information

Despite going 0-for-2 in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Phillies, Arroyo is batting .318 (7-for-22) for the Rays this spring while seeing time at third, short and second.

"He looks like a baseball player," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He like to be out there. He likes to play. He's got enough fire in him, even in Spring Training, where's he's competing."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Hopefully, having all the comforts of home will help Arroyo make the next step in his development. He had a rough big league debut last season, batting .192 with three home runs in 34 games before a pitch broke his left wrist in July, which ultimately resulted in surgery. Prior to his debut, Arroyo advanced quickly through the Minors, including batting .396 with a 1.065 OPS last season at Triple-A. In five Minor League seasons, Arroyo has hit .300/.345/.434 with 106 doubles, 11 triples, 24 home runs and 208 RBIs.

Just being in the same time zone has made it easier for Arroyo to communicate with his friends and family. He has also had familiar faces at most of his Spring Training stops, from Pinellas to Port Charlotte. Being close to home also means hanging out with old friends on the weekend to go fishing and play video games.

"Thirty minutes from here, we've got some of the best fishing in the country," the avid angler said.

Video: BAL@TB: Arroyo dives to rob Santander of extra bases

Being near home can have drawbacks, though. Outfielder Denard Span knows the feeling. As a fellow Tampa native, Span understands that -- while it's nice to be surrounded by familiarity -- there's a danger in trying too hard to be a hometown hero.

"Being home, no matter how much you want to pretend you don't put pressure on yourself, when you are playing in front of family and friends, I think it's natural to put a little more pressure on yourself," Span said. "But you can reverse that card when you know you are playing in front of people that will love you unconditionally."

As a veteran that has been in the league for over a decade, Span, who joined the Rays as part of the Longoria deal, prefers having that support system at this stage in his career.

"I think it's perfect for me," Span said. "I've played in front of big crowds, hostile crowds, but now I get to play in front of my wife and son. I couldn't write a better situation."

There can be other types of pressure as well. Although Arroyo was traded for Longoria -- and will eventually fill his position on the field -- he is trying to avoid the pressure of being compared to the beloved former Rays third baseman.

"Longo was one of my favorite players growing up. For me, I don't really look at it as trying to fill those shoes," Arroyo said. "I'm my own player and I'm not going to try and be Evan Longoria, because he is who he is -- a great player that has done some great things for the organization and this area.

"I can't think about it. I can only be the player that I'm supposed to be."

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Christian Arroyo

Adames happy to get taste of keystone

Special to MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays have a competition this spring for the starting second-base job. Willy Adames, the organization's top position player prospect, isn't fully a part of that competition. But the 22-year-old was in the starting lineup at the keystone in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Twins.

Batting ninth, Adames went 1-for-3 with a double while playing eight defensive innings. This was Adames' first game at second base this spring after 35 innings at shortstop. Adeiny Hechavarria, the Rays' veteran shortstop, was back at his regular position on Friday. Adames started 11 games at second last season for Triple-A Durham, his first time playing there in five Minor League seasons.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays have a competition this spring for the starting second-base job. Willy Adames, the organization's top position player prospect, isn't fully a part of that competition. But the 22-year-old was in the starting lineup at the keystone in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Twins.

Batting ninth, Adames went 1-for-3 with a double while playing eight defensive innings. This was Adames' first game at second base this spring after 35 innings at shortstop. Adeiny Hechavarria, the Rays' veteran shortstop, was back at his regular position on Friday. Adames started 11 games at second last season for Triple-A Durham, his first time playing there in five Minor League seasons.

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"He looked good," manager Kevin Cash said. "I know him and Hech have been lobbying to play on the same field together. It's good. I think Willy has done a tremendous job this spring of kind of following Hechy around, watching that consistency of a big league shortstop.

"You can see drastic improvement from his consistency, speaking of Willy, from this time last year until now."

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Cash had said earlier this spring he planned to get a look at Adames at second base, gauging his versatility, not in consideration of a position move.

"He has to be a shortstop for us," Cash said. "Willy's made some tremendous strides from this time year to where he is now, consistency, catching the ball, but he did play a handful of games at second base. … But we view Willy as a Major League shortstop, and want him to get as good as he can be at that position."

"It feels good," Adames said of playing second. "It's been a while, but it feels good. It was great to be with Hechy out there today. We've been doing everything together this spring and for me to be there with him, it was great today."

Adames acknowledged there is an adjustment to being on the other side of the infield.

"Last year, I did it, it was kind of hard in the beginning," Adames said. "You got to move your feet in the opposite way. It took me like three games to feel good. But I made that adjustment practicing, during BP, taking a lot of ground balls.

"If they need me at third, too, I'll play whatever. I'm just trying to do a job, make the team and help my team win."

Coming off the field after his eighth-inning double, it appeared Adames may have tweaked something. Cash said he caught a spike sliding back into second, but there was no issue. Adames said he iced his left ankle after the game as a precaution.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames

Cash hopes prospects' rehab is learning tool

Rays' Honeywell, De Leon sidelined with torn UCLs
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite losing a second pitching prospect this spring with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, manager Kevin Cash is hopeful that the two will not only strengthen their physical side of the game, but the mental side as well.

Although Brent Honeywell -- the Rays' No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- and Jose De Leon won't return anytime soon, Cash said that there is still much for the two to learn from the sidelines.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite losing a second pitching prospect this spring with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, manager Kevin Cash is hopeful that the two will not only strengthen their physical side of the game, but the mental side as well.

Although Brent Honeywell -- the Rays' No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline -- and Jose De Leon won't return anytime soon, Cash said that there is still much for the two to learn from the sidelines.

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"I think there's a lot to be learned from what Nathan Eovaldi went through last year," Cash said Thursday, one day after De Leon was diagnosed with the same injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery for Honeywell on Feb. 27. "I'm convinced that he made himself a better pitcher by not pitching, just by watching a lot of games in tune to how his teammates and the opposition were attacking hitters, and probably came up with some new ideas that he's implemented."

Eovaldi had a second Tommy John surgery in August 2016 and has bounced back with two impressive starts this spring.

"So hopefully they take that opportunity, wherever they're rehabbing, to make the most of it," Cash said. "The rehab process is strenuous; you have to get after it in that regard, but you can also work on the mental side of things while you're sitting and watching games -- a lot to be learned."

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De Leon was diagnosed Wednesday with a torn UCL. He will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery on Honeywell.

Sim games hold added importance
Pitching prospects Jose Mujica and Austin Pruitt and non-roster invitee Adam Kolarek are among a logjam of hurlers itching to make their way to mound. All pitched sim games Thursday. That's becoming the go-to method for Cash to allow the club's plethora of arms to get some work.

"We've got a lot of pitchers," Cash said. "Obviously, we had to bring in a lot of pitchers for the split squad Day 1, and this is some of the repercussions of it. Hopefully we can learn and realize that this has been a challenge trying to get guys innings and to be fair to everybody. So that's why we've added these sim games two of the last three days."

McGowan released
Right-handers Dustin McGowan and Evan Scribner were given their release.

Cash said that he wanted to give McGowan, who has spent parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, enough time to catch on with another club.

"It's probably not the message he wanted to hear, but in fairness, given his situation and where his standing was -- how it stacked up to the guys that were available to make the club -- it was just a fairly long shot," Cash said.

Video: TB@BOS: McGowan strikes out Moreland to end the 4th

McGowan made a career-high 63 appearances last season for the Marlins.

"I hope he lands on his feet because he's a big league pitcher and can finish his career strong," Cash said.

Quest for righty OF bat continues
The Rays came into camp very heavy on left-handed hitters in the outfield, and Cash said it would be nice to see a right-handed bat out there to balance it out.

On March 3, the Rays signed right-handed-hitting Carlos Gomez to go along with left-handed-hitting outfielders Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith, Denard Span and Justin Williams.

Video: BAL@TB: Snell, Gomez discuss strong performances

Cash continues to experiment with right-handed-hitting infielders in the outfield, including Daniel Robertson. Non-roster invitee Micah Johnson is another, but he has experience playing the outfield. Accustomed to playing both, Cash said he wants to give Johnson a look at second base.

"He'll come in to play second base soon," Cash said. "We're going to make some roster decisions coming up and then we'll have some space and get him some reps at second."

Position battle
Left-handed-hitting second baseman Joey Wendle continues to have a solid spring, going 2-for-3 in Thursday's 6-6 tie against Boston. He was on the back end of a double steal and scored a run.

Wendle came to the Rays in a December trade with the A's for a player to be named. He played in 36 games over two seasons with Oakland, hitting .266 with a .305 on-base percentage. Wendle ie battling starter Brad Miller, as well as Robertson, for the second-base job.

Up next
The Rays host the Twins in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Fans can tune in via an exclusive audio webcast on rays.com. Right-hander Andrew Kittredge will start for Tampa Bay. Left-handers Vidal Nuno and Jonny Venters, as well as right-handers Diego Castillo, Ryne Stanek, Daniel Hudson and Sergio Romo, are also slated to take the mound.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon, Dustin McGowan

Williams beat OBJ in high school ... twice

Rays prospect played wide receiver vs. NFL star in 2011; OF scored two TDs in 7-on-7 game
MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Justin Williams wasn't on the cover of Madden '16, but the Rays prospect took it to the house -- twice --against Odell Beckham Jr., the guy who graced the 2016 cover of EA Sports' popular video game.

In 2011, Williams was a sophomore at Terrebonne (La.) High School when he took part in a Red Bull 7-on-7 tournament at Tulane University in New Orleans.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Justin Williams wasn't on the cover of Madden '16, but the Rays prospect took it to the house -- twice --against Odell Beckham Jr., the guy who graced the 2016 cover of EA Sports' popular video game.

In 2011, Williams was a sophomore at Terrebonne (La.) High School when he took part in a Red Bull 7-on-7 tournament at Tulane University in New Orleans.

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"[Beckham] was playing for Newman High School, the same New Orleans school where Peyton and Eli Manning went," Williams said. "It's an all-boys school. He was playing on both sides of the ball."

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"When we walked out on the field that day and I saw him, he stuck out. I'm like, 'He's really good.' You could just tell he was an athlete."

Williams was the "Z" receiver, which is a slot back.

"My brother, Michael Williams, Jr., was the quarterback, which was really cool," Williams said.

Beckham covered Williams, and the Rays' outfielder beat him twice for touchdowns.

So what was the secret to beating the future LSU and NFL star?

"Honestly, it was just running crisp routes," Williams said. "Obviously, he's more of an offensive standout. But he was just that much of an athlete that he played both sides of the ball."

Williams and his Terrebonne teammates won that contest and advanced to the next competition at the Cotton Bowl.

"I didn't know who he was at the time," Williams said. "But then he went to LSU and became who he is and I always think back, 'This guy was guarding me.'

"I don't know if he remembers it, but it's definitely online. You can go look at it. That was a great experience."

Rays vs. Twins -- wives
Following the Twins-Rays game on Friday, the Rays' wives will participate in a charity softball game against the Twins' wives. The game will take place approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Grapefruit League game on the main stadium field. Fans must have a ticket for that day's game in order to attend the wives' game.

In response to the recent tragedy in Parkland, Fla., the game will be played for the Broward Education Foundation's Official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. The Rays and Charlotte Stone Crabs have each committed $5,000 to the Broward Education Foundation. The 50/50 raffle at Charlotte Sports Park on Friday will also benefit the Broward Education Fund.

Worth noting
• The Rays released right-hander Evan Scribner on Wednesday. Scribner pitched to a 6.00 ERA in three outings this spring. The Rays also released right-hander Dustin McGowan

Christian Arroyo was dazzling in the field during Wednesday's 7-2 loss to the Orioles. Playing third base, he made a diving backhanded stop in which he threw out the runner at first. Later he made a nice backhanded stop to start a 5-4-3 double play.

Video: BAL@TB: Arroyo dives to rob Santander of extra bases

Blake Snell continued to pitch well. On Wednesday, Snell started against the Orioles and allowed no runs on two hits while striking out four in his third spring outing.

Video: BAL@TB: Snell, Gomez discuss strong performances

Camp battles
Ryan Schimpf got designated for assignment on Saturday, then traded to the Braves, which slightly whittled down the numbers in the second-base competition. However, the battle remains competitive, with a handful of candidates in the hunt.

"It's still the same guys, obviously [Schimpf is] not involved in [the battle] anymore," Cash said. "We're going to get Micah Johnson in at second base here now. I'm sure we have some pending roster decisions coming up. So, once that takes place, Micah will get some reps in at second base. ... Willy [Adames] is going to play there tomorrow or the next day."

Daniel Robertson started at second base on Wednesday. Other candidates include Joey Wendle and Brad Miller.

Injury Update
Miller (broken right pinky toe) will be shut down for the next several days while he waits for his injury to heal. Miller played in a sim game on Tuesday, but there are concerns that if he favors the opposite foot while playing, it will cause him to injure other parts of his body while compensating for his injury. On top of that, Miller is returning from offseason core-muscle surgery.

"Probably won't see him for a couple of days, try to let it heal completely," said Cash, who also noted Miller will likely return following Monday's off-day.

Up next
The Rays travel to Fort Myers, Fla., on Thursday afternoon to play the Red Sox in a 1:05 ET contest, live on MLB.TV. Chris Archer will make his third start of the spring and the Rays' ace will be followed by Ryan Yarbrough, Matt Andriese, Jose Mujica, Colton Murray, Cody Hall, and Ruben Alaniz.

Tampa Bay Rays, Justin Williams

Bauers turns heads with moonshot

Duffy, Hechavarria return to action; Gomez, Faria, Venters take part in sim game
MLB.com

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The legend of Jake Bauers grew a little more on Tuesday afternoon.

The Rays' No. 5 prospect arrived at camp after putting on a memorable power display last spring. In particular was the ball he hit onto the roof of the Rays' offices in right field. On Tuesday, Bauers trumped that one with a majestic shot off Red Sox starter Hector Velazquez in the second inning of Tampa Bay's 9-1 loss.

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The legend of Jake Bauers grew a little more on Tuesday afternoon.

The Rays' No. 5 prospect arrived at camp after putting on a memorable power display last spring. In particular was the ball he hit onto the roof of the Rays' offices in right field. On Tuesday, Bauers trumped that one with a majestic shot off Red Sox starter Hector Velazquez in the second inning of Tampa Bay's 9-1 loss.

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"[Tuesday's blast] definitely went farther [than last spring's], a little better contact," Bauers said. "That's all I got. So don't expect anything more than that."

According to Bauers, Chris Archer yelled to him just before he stepped into the batter's box, saying, "Show me something."

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"I said, 'I got you,'" Bauers said. "I didn't waste any time. I wanted to show him something."

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was asked about the home run and he replied: "Ooof!" According to team translator Manny Navarro, that translated to "Ooof!" in English.

Asked to articulate what hitting such a home run feels like, Bauers smiled. "You almost black out a little bit."

"You don't feel it off the bat," Bauers said. "You kind of got to remember where you're at. Then you have to get around the bases."

Despite the power show, Bauers is a long shot to make the team based on the business of baseball and service time. That reality hasn't changed Bauers' approach.

"My mindset, I've said it before and I'll say it again, is I'm here to try and win a job," Bauers said. "And how my way of doing that is play hard, do whatever I can to show them I can hit, I can play defense, I can run a little bit, steal bases if I need to. I don't know what they want to see. But I know that playing hard is going to benefit me the most."

Left side back intact

The left side of the Rays' infield returned on Tuesday, with Matt Duffy back at third and Hechavarria at shortstop. Each had been nursing a minor mallady.

Duffy had back spasms and Hechavarria tightness behind his right knee. Both appeared no worse for the wear.

Hechavarria went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, and made a nice play with a drawn-in infield in the first when he threw out Ivan De Jesus Jr. at the plate.

"I feel really good," Hechavarria said. "I felt good after I came back. A little lesson learned."

Hechavarria injured himself initially when he wore sneakers during infield drills and slipped. When asked if he will wear spikes next time, Hechavarria smiled: "Oh yeah, for sure."

Duffy, who went 1-for-2, showed well in the field, too, making a nice play on Rusney Castillo's chopper in the fifth. After moving to the line to field the ball, he snapped off a quick throw to catch the speedy Red Sox outfielder. Then with a shifted infield in the sixth, Duffy was the pivot man in an inning-ending 4-5-3 double play.

"I feel fine," said Duffy, who missed all of the 2017 season after heel surgery. "Back feels fine, and the heel feels better than when my back started to hurt. I feel great. ... [The back problem] is just one of those things I've dealt with in the past. Sometimes I'll have to take a little time off. Spring Training, probably best to just take care of it."

Gomez, Faria, Venters participate in sim game

The Rays held a simulated game on one of the back fields at the Charlotte Sports Complex on Tuesday morning, which was noteworthy given the players who took part in the action.

Free-agent signee Carlos Gomez, who just joined the team, looked ready for action, going 1-for-3 in the contest. But he dropped a fly ball in right field.

Jake Faria, who will be in the starting rotation, allowed a run on a hit and a walk while striking out three in three innings. Manager Kevin Cash told reporters Faria wasn't pitching in the back-field sim game to keep from pitching against the Red Sox.

Jonny Venters continued to shine, allowing a hit and striking out two in 1 1/3 innings. And Brad Miller, who has been nursing a broken right pinky toe, went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly.

Also seeing action in the game were Ryne Stanek, Sergio Romo and Daniel Robertson.

Duffy and the Taylor Hooton Foundation

Taylor Hooton Foundation President Donald Hooton Jr., and Rays strength and conditioning coordinator Trung Cao presented Duffy with a canvas print of his 2018 "It's All Me" public service ad. The presentation was made in a pregame ceremony before the Rays hosted the Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Taylor Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against appearance- and performance-enhancing substance use by the youth of America.

Camp battles

Chih-Wei Hu allowed three runs on four hi