ST. PETERSBURG — Whether it was instinct or wishful thinking, Joey Wendle did not break stride.
Hit on the wrist by a pitch in the sixth inning Wednesday by Royals reliever Jake Diekman, the Rays infielder spun out of the batter’s box and continued running straight to first.
It will probably be the last we see of Wendle for a while.
X-rays at Tropicana Field revealed the 95 mph pitch fractured Wendle’s right wrist. He left for the hospital before the game ended, and Rays officials said they didn’t yet know the severity, although he will probably be out for at least 3-4 weeks.
Wendle had just come off the injured list Sunday after missing 17 games with a hamstring injury.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating. A ball got away from a lefty,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Joey worked so hard to get back here quick and then this happens. Pretty unfortunate, but knowing Joey, just the character of the person, he’ll get on the rehab and get back here as soon as possible.’’
With Wendle heading back to the injured list, the Rays could call up infielder Christian Arroyo from Triple-A Durham. Arroyo replaced Wendle for a week earlier this year but was optioned back to Durham when the Rays needed another arm for the bullpen.
Who’s on first?
Ji-Man Choi’s calf injury was still tender enough that the Rays used catcher Michael Perez as an emergency replacement at first base, but Choi said after the game that he will be ready to play this weekend in Boston.
First baseman Brandon Lowe shifted to second when Wendle left the game, and Perez, who had never played infield in either the minors or majors, took over at first for three innings.
“If the game was close, we would have gone to Ji-Man,’’ said Cash. “But once (the score) got separated, there was more value to having him off his feet.’’
Choi, who has not played since Saturday, did not go on the injured list but was put on the restricted list for Tuesday’s game for a personal matter.
“I just went back home (to Arizona) where I reside during the offseason,’’ he said through team translator Ha Ram Jeong. “It was just family business. It’s not something I can talk about to the press. Just family business that I took care of.’’
Reliever Hunter Wood was moved from the three-day paternity list to the family medical emergency list after the birth of his daughter.
“Everything is going good with Woody,’’ Cash said. “The one thing I’ll say is the baby is fine, but it was premature so they’re monitoring. But I’ve talked to Woody countless times and things seem to be in the right direction.’’
Ryan Yarbrough, who won 16 games as a rookie last season, was sent to Triple-A Durham after giving up seven runs in 4⅓ innings Wednesday. Yarbrough has surrendered 14 runs in his last 12⅓. The Rays did not announce a roster replacement for Friday’s game.
In other roster news, Austin Pruitt was optioned back to Durham to clear space for Blake Snell to come off the injured list, and Andrew Velazquez was sent to Durham when Choi came off the restricted list.
• The Rays pulled off an unusual double play with runners on first and third in the second inning. Snell threw to first as Billy Hamilton was trying to steal second. Terrance Gore then broke for home and was thrown out in a rundown, and Hamilton was caught rounding second. The play went 1-3-2-5-3-4 in the score book.
• Shortstop Willy Adames is 3-for-23 in his past seven games.
• While the Rays have a majors-best 16-9 record, they are 2-3 in Snell’s three starts.
Contact John Romano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at @romano_tbtimes.