ST. PETERSBURG — SS Brad Miller was not happy to learn before Monday's game that he will no longer be the everyday shortstop once newly acquired INF Matt Duffy's Achilles heals and he joins the lineup.
"Extremely disappointed," Miller said. "Obviously, I'm a shortstop. I've been working hard and doing everything they ask and playing well there, and (Monday) was kind of a punch to the gut, them telling me he's our shortstop now."
Miller will move to first base. He could also see time in the outfield. He said the team did not mince words when telling him the reason behind the move.
"They said him playing shortstop was our best chance to win," Miller said.
Miller, whose 16 home runs as a shortstop are a franchise record, entered Tuesday's game tied for third among AL shortstops with 13 errors. His .959 fielding percent ranked last.
"I understand the disappointment with him, but we're constantly going to make decisions that are going to improve our entire club," manager Kevin Cash said. "We can't just focus on an individual. I understand where he is coming from, I appreciate it, but at the same time we feel we're going to be a better defense with this new alignment."
Cash said the infield defense will improve with Duffy at short and Miller, with his shortstop's athleticism, at first.
Miller was moved around during his three seasons with the Mariners, playing second, third and all three outfield spots. One reason he was glad for last November's trade to the Rays was because he was told the team saw him as an everyday shortstop.
"I feel like I've done everything I needed to do to keep the job, and they didn't see it that way," Miller said. "The same thing happened in Seattle. But I'm a professional and, obviously, I'm a young player and I have to do whatever they say."
Cash said 1B Logan Morrison, currently on the DL with a right forearm strain, will play first base and DH when he returns. But Cash emphasized that Miller will remain an everyday player.
"We want Brad Miller in there every day," Cash said. "He provides a huge offensive spark for us, and we're not going to take away from that."
GAME STUFF: RHP Matt Andriese replaced the traded Matt Moore and allowed one run in four innings in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Royals.
"I knew I wasn't going to be able to go that deep in the game, but to get four quality innings out there and (58) pitches, it's a good one to build on for me," Andriese said.
Cash used four relievers, including Xavier Cedeno, who took the loss after allowing a two-run homer to C Salvador Perez in the seventh inning. That snapped a streak of seven scoreless outings for Cedeno. 2B Logan Forsythe tied his season high with three hits and reached base four times.
The Rays have scored in just one of their past 20 innings.
MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to pitch Thursday for Class A Charlotte. RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John) is scheduled to pitch Friday for Double-A Montgomery. … OF Mikie Mahtook (left hand fracture) was 1-for-3 with a walk Tuesday as the DH for the CGL Rays. He's expected to join the Stone Crabs tonight.