Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Veteran Trevor Plouffe excited for fresh start with Rays

DETROIT — Packing up and traveling cross-country with a pregnant wife and curious 2-year-old will make for a challenging journey, but once that's completed INF Trevor Plouffe will be very excited to be joining the Rays on Monday.

Plouffe — pronounced PLOOF — was acquired Saturday from the A's in hopes he can add some right-handed production to a lineup that sorely needs it while also filling in at first and third base, and possibly the outfield.

"I'm happy the Rays were the team," Plouffe said from Oakland. "I'd always thought I'd like to play for them."

The cost wasn't much, as the Rays got enough cash in the deal so they only have to cover about $1 million of what's left on his $5.5 million contract and will send back either a small check or a minor player to be named.

But they are banking that the payoff will be, hoping the deal shakes Plouffe from the struggles — .214 with seven HRs, 14 RBIs, .634 OPS — that led the A's to DFA him Thursday, on his 31st birthday. He hit 22 homers in 2015 and had a .247 average and .727 OPS during seven seasons with the Twins through 2016.

"I think our struggles against left-handed pitching have been noted, and I like that we've gone out and tried to do something," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's a proven player, a veteran guy off to a slow start in Oakland, hopefully a different scene will kind of rebound him a little bit."

The Rays need help, given an 8-16 record vs. lefty starters and no set timetable for Rickie Weeks (shoulder) to come off the DL. They made room for Plouffe on the 40-man roster by shifting RHP Matt Andriese (hip) to the 60-day DL and will have to open a spot on the active roster Monday, with either Taylor Featherston (who has an option) or Michael Martinez (who doesn't) likely to go.

Plouffe said he is ready to do whatever, and play wherever, the Rays ask. "I know there's a lot of baseball left in me," he said. "And my body feels great, which is the most important part."

Starry-eyed in one way

Rays players and coaches are voting this weekend on the AL All-Star reserves. There was, predictably, a lot of support for Corey Dickerson, a distant third in the fan voting. Dickerson, though, said he did not feel right voting for himself. Cash said he felt the Rays had four deserving candidates — Dickerson, 1B Logan Morrison, closer Alex Colome and top starter Chris Archer.

Starry-eyed in another

Rookie RHP Jake Faria said he'll take the same steady approach into his third big-league start today that worked in his first two as he allowed one run over 61/3 innings in both. He'll try to do that even with an all-timer he grew up watching, Miguel Cabrera, in the Tigers lineup. "You kind of have to block out the fan-boy aspect of it, but you have to remember that it is Miguel Cabrera and you have to execute," Faria said. "He's a great hitter. If you don't execute, there's a good possibility he makes you pay for it." Today will be a family affair for Faria as both his dad, Dave, and his stepfather, Cliff Privetera, will be in from southern California, along with older brother Matt. "That will be pretty cool," Faria said.

Rehab report

C Wilson Ramos (knee) went 0-for-3 and was behind the plate for a second straight night game with Triple-A Durham, with plans for three more games there (including nine innings Monday) and, if all is well, to rejoin the Rays next Sunday. … RHP Brad Boxberger (flexor) allowed a hit and struck out two in one inning in his second rehab appearance for the Bulls with plans to pitch again today and, if no issues from the back-to-back outings, again Wednesday. He could rejoin the Rays Friday. … SS Matt Duffy (left heel) may get some clarity on his recurring issues Monday when he goes to Charlotte to see Dr. Bob Anderson, who did the September surgery. … 2B Brad Miller (groin) could resume baseball activities as soon as Monday.

Miscellany

. Rays fans can get a look at top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay today when he starts for Louisville in its College World Series opener, 2 p.m. on ESPN.

. Three Rays represented the Stone Crabs in Saturday's advanced Class A Florida State League All-Star Game in Lakeland, SS Jake Cronenworth, C Brett Sullivan and 2B Brandon Lowe.

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