Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Duffy, Rays share excitement about his debut vs. Yankees

NEW YORK — SS Matt Duffy was excited and a tad nervous to finally join the Rays on Friday, 11 days after being acquired from the Giants in the Matt Moore trade, and manager Kevin Cash said the Rays were happy to have him.

"This is exciting," Cash said. "We're all very excited here the next two months to finally get to see the guy that we traded a really good player for. We know he's going to help us going forward for our future in making us a better defense and kind of adding to our offense."

With the Rays shifting Duffy back to his original shortstop position after he played third for the Giants, Cash said he will in the lineup pretty much every day and usually hitting in the middle or the order, though he was second Friday with CF Kevin Kiermaier out. He grounded into a double play his first at-bat, singled in his second, and finished 1-for-4, while making three plays in the field, including an impressive one coming in to nab swift Brett Gardner.

Duffy was in the final stages of rehabbing a left Achilles injury when traded, so he played five more games in the Rays minor-league system before meeting the team in New York on Thursday.

"I'm really excited actually," Duffy said. "A little nervous excitement I think is normal. It's exciting for me. I actually dreamt about baseball last night for the first time in a while, so that was kind of funny."

Duffy said the Achilles feels good and not limiting in any way, though it's sore after games or long innings. And while the rehab games at short helped, "I think it's going to take some time before I'm as comfortable as I was at third — some time and a lot of reps."

KIERMAIER OUT: A flu that started to bother Kiermaier on Tuesday in Toronto knocked him out of action on Friday. "Today has been an absolute struggle," said Kiermaier, who told teammates to stay away from him and wor batting gloves in the clubhouse to minimize germ spread. He was bothered by left knee soreness in Toronto, but said "the knee is 100 percent fine." Mikie Mahtook started in center.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) had another impressive outing on Thursday for Double-A Montgomery, allowing one run and one hit over five innings, and will make what looks to be his last rehab start on Tuesday for advanced Class A Charlotte. "He continues to throw the ball well," Cash said. "His efficiency has been pretty impressive." … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) came through his Wednesday start for Triple-A Durham well despite allowing four runs on eight hits over three innings, and will start again Tuesday for the Bulls. "Everything was fine, he just got hit a little bit," Cash said. … DH Oswaldo Arcia (right elbow strain) and 1B Logan Morrison (right forearm strain) were both in the lineup for the Stone Crabs on Friday at Fort Myers, and each had two hits. … LHP Enny Romero is pretty much over his back strain, Cash said, now the Rays hope to get him pitching right. "Hopefully a little bit of time away he can work on some things, and I think he's making some adjustments that we're feeling pretty good about."

TO THE MATT: RHP Matt Andriese makes his third start since being moving back into the rotation following the Moore trade, seeking to further his case (5-2, 3.10 in 10 starts) to be one of the starting five in 2017.

"I feel like I've done that," Andriese said. "I've done enough to show them I do belong in the rotation. I know I always have to work though, have to keep batting, doing whatever it takes to be here."

MISCELLANY: Visiting clubhouse manager Guy Gallagher and radio broadcaster Dave Wills were inducted Friday into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame housed at Foley's NY Pub & Restaurant. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg was at the game.

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