KANSAS CITY — The Rays lost two starting players, 3B Matt Duffy and RF Carlos Gomez, to injuries during Tuesday's game, and won't know until Wednesday morning how long they'll be out and if any roster moves will be required.
Though neither player said they thought they would have to go on the 10-day DL, if they need even a day or two off the Rays may have to decide if they can afford to be down two position players for the afternoon finale against the Royals or the series in Anaheim that starts Thursday.
Duffy left with tightness in his right hamstring after lining out in the fifth. The Rays said it was precautionary and he was day to day, but it has to be considered concerning in that Duffy already was on the disabled list earlier this season for the same issue. Daniel Robertson replaced Duffy.
Duffy said he felt something while scoring from second in the first and that it got tighter over the next three innings.
"I never really felt it grab like last time," he said. "It was the same spot, but it was just general tightening over the next three innings and I didn't want to push it."
Gomez left with groin tightness after bunting in the sixth. The Rays said he also was day to day. Johnny Field replaced Gomez.
Gomez said he felt it on the pitch before the bunt when he hit a foul ball and ran toward first.
"It was like it kind of wrapped me and got tight," Gomez said. "That's not a pain I've ever felt before. After the bunt I felt like if I continued to run I was going to get hurt."
Gomez said he doesn't think "it's something bad," but acknowledged that since he never had groin issues before he didn't really know long he'd be out.
"(Wednesday) is the most important day, see how I feel and what we think from there," he said.
If the Rays do need to make a move, infield candidates on the 40-man roster include Willy Adames, Christian Arroyo and Jake Bauers while outfield options include Justin Williams and Jeremy Hazelbaker.
"We don't have a good sense of who's going to be available or what we're going to do," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're probably going to wait to check on them (Wednesday)."
Cash: Team not as bad as record looks
The Rays reached the quarter point of their season with their 40th game, and manager Kevin Cash insisted they were better than they looked.
Especially with an 18-22 record, their worst at that point of his four seasons, and more games out of first, 10, since the Devil Rays daze.
"Given how we started, I'm impressed with the way the guys continue to come out, what they showed through a 3-12 start,'' Cash said before Tuesdays' 6-5 win.
"Are we where we want to be? Obviously not. Have we performed like we think we're capable? Obviously not. But the mind-set of the club has remained consistent. There's something to be said for that and hopefully we can get on a little bit of a roll and kind of correct that rough start and continue to find ways to win games.''
After the game, their second straight one-run win, he heaped more praise.
"Give the guys a lot of credit," he said. "We keep talking about it, I keep talking about it, there's something to be said for the way the guys carry themselves. They're giving the effort that you want for nine innings. They've been consistent all year."
Bueller? Faria? Yarbrough?
RHP Jake Faria and LHP Ryan Yarbrough had a celebrity encounter at the team hotel after Monday's game that left them awestruck — sharing an elevator with Ben Stein, the writer, political/economic commentator and actor best known, at least to a certain generation, as the nerdy teacher in the classic comedy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
"We got on the elevator, I saw him and I was like, 'Oh my God,' and I turned into a 5-year-old kid,'' Faria said. "Then Yarbrough walks on behind me and literally points at him and goes, 'Oh my God.' "
Stein, 73, made polite conversation, correctly guessing they were ballplayers, asking what team and replying when told, "Oh God bless you, that's fantastic.''
"I was like, 'You're just like on TV,' " Faria said.
The players regretted not asking for a picture with him, maybe even more so not using his signature roll call line from the movie: "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"
"I really wanted to,'' Faria said.
‘No issues’ for Eovaldi
Cash said RHP Nathan Eovaldi had "no issues at all" during a 25-pitch bullpen session at the Trop with the right side/oblique area soreness that interrupted his rehab schedule. Eovaldi will now make his third rehab start Friday with Triple-A Durham, roughly three innings or 50 pitches. Depending how he comes out of that, he could then either rejoin the Rays next week or make a fourth rehab start.
"None of that has been decided yet,'' Cash said.
Eovaldi had arthroscopic surgery March 30 to remove loose cartilage from his right elbow, further delaying his return from 2016 Tommy John surgery.
A win a long time coming
LHP Jonny Venters got the win in relief, his first since Aug. 17, 2012 with the Braves, just 2,096 days before. Since then, 1,059 different pitchers got wins. Said Venters: "It was a long time ago."
Old friend alert
RHP Burch Smith was highly thought of when acquired him from San Diego in the December 2014 11-player, three-team Wil Myers/Steven Souza Jr. trade. But he never pitched for the Rays, sidelined all of 2015-16 and the first half of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and the complication of a fractured bone tunnel.
Smith got back on the mound last June and worked his way from Port Charlotte to Triple-A Durham. The Rays decided not to put him back on the 40-man roster, and he was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Mets in a prearranged deal with the Royals. He has made 12 relief appearances, his first big-league action since 2013.
"There was never a doubt in my mind. Not that I would get back in the big leagues, that was obviously a goal, but just that I would pitch again,'' Smith said. "A lot of thanks goes out to Rays for sticking with me and the medical staff for getting me healthy.'' … Another ex-Rays RHP, Nathan Karns, is on the Royals disabled list with elbow issues.
The #Rays promoted their prized pitching and hitting prospect effective Monday after he dominated during five weeks with Bowling Green in the Midwest League: https://t.co/xfZ9RkcQhW #RaysUp #StoneCrabs @TBTimes_Rays— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) May 13, 2018
Number of the day
Rays picks among the first 92 in June draft, based on official order released Tuesday: Nos. 16, 31 (compensation for losing free agent Alex Cobb), 32 (compensation for unsigned 2017 pick Drew Rasmussen), 56, 71 (competitive balance round B and 92.
* DH C.J. Cron's first-inning homer extended his streak of reaching base to 21 games.
* Faria should have an advantage Wednesday in that the Royals have seen him before, maybe more so as he keeps making adjustments: "I think for a while I was getting a little one-dimensional so just trying to move the ball around, change my game up every so often.''
* INF Joey Wendle remains on high alert with his wife, Lindsay, back in St. Petersburg and approaching full-term pregnancy.
* Batting practice for the Rays was canceled due to a brief shower, though it was clear and sunny in their time slot.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Rays