NEW YORK — Matt Duffy is expected to join the Rays today and take over at shortstop with a simple plan — to make all the routine plays.
When the Rays acquired Duffy and two prospects from the Giants on Aug. 1 in exchange for LHP Matt Moore, they did so with an eye on solidifying their defense.
"Our hope is he is a 'two-out shortstop' —and what I mean by that is when we've got two outs and a ground ball is hit to him, the inning's over," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
"I compare, just from watching him take ground balls (at the Trop last week), with the utmost respect, he looks like a J.J. Hardy (of the Orioles). Looks very, just, solid. Catches balls. We're not looking for him to go range around all over the diamond. But when the ball's hit to him, you're out."
Duffy came up as a shortstop, but last season in San Francisco was moved to third base, and played it rather well. He was in the final stages of recovering from June 19 left Achilles strain when the Rays traded for him, and used his five rehab games to be readjusted to shortstop as well.
Duffy said last week his style at shortstop very much was to make the basic plays.
"I wasn't making the highlight reel, I guess you would say, but I was proud about being counted on to make the routine play," he said. "I guess that was kind of my thing. And trying to be as calm as possible all the time no matter what the situation."
SHAFFER TIME: Richie Shaffer's callup seemed temporary, especially given his seasonlong struggles at Triple-A Durham. But Shaffer said he was disappointed to be sent back to make room for Duffy, especially after a couple of days work paid off with a two-hit Wednesday in Toronto, and felt he would be better served staying in the majors.
"Obviously I wish I could continue to be here with the team and continue to work because, honestly, I think I get more out of the two at-bats in one week than I do in 20 at-bats in the minor leagues just because they are so drastically different," Shaffer said.
"There are no amount of minor-league at-bats that can prepare you for major-league at-bats. I understand wanting to get some confidence and get in a groove and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, there are 45,000 people here and every guy today was throwing 95.
"There are no amount of minor-league at-bats that prepare you for something like that, and I think the more repetitions you can get at the big-league level, the better. So, obviously, I'm disappointed but I'm glad I had the day I had."
CHEERS, CHEERS: Rays visiting clubhouse manager Guy Gallagher and radio man Dave Wills will be inducted today into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame housed at the world-renowned Foley's NY Pub & Restaurant. Bar owner Shaun Clancy started the Hall in 2008 to honor players, coaches, executives, journalists and others involved in the game of Irish descent, with inductees chosen by past winners and a panel of baseball historians.
REHAB REPORT: RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) made his fifth start Thursday, giving up one hit, one run (home run) and striking out four in five innings (61 pitches) to get the win for Double-A Montgomery. … Reports on RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) were better than his line Wednesday for Durham, where he allowed four runs on eight hits in three innings. He will make at least one more start for the Bulls before returning. … OF Oswaldo Arcia (right elbow strain) and 1B Logan Morrison (right forearm strain) continued their rehabs with the advanced Class A Stone Crabs playing in Fort Myers. Arcia went 0-for-3 with a strikeout; Morrison 0-for-2 with two walks.
MISCELLANY: Fox is showing tonight's game nationally, so there is no Fox Sports Sun broadcast. … Today's weather.com forecast is for excessive heat, with a feels-like of 100-plus during the day, and a 40-45 percent chance of rain starting in late afternoon. … Cash said he wasn't concerned about the Alex Rodriguez farewell and other Yankees ceremonies this week being a distraction: "It seems like every time we go in there there is something going on; they'll adjust to it fine.''