Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Rays claim switch-hitting Daniel Nava off waivers

CHICAGO — A week after trading OF David DeJesus for minimal return, the Rays felt the need to add a veteran hitter to boost their lineup against right-handed pitchers and claimed OF/1B Daniel Nava off waivers.

Nava, 32, was designated for assignment last week by the Red Sox after hitting .152 (10-for-66) in 29 games while missing two months with a left thumb sprain.

OF Mikie Mahtook, rather than struggling OF Joey Butler (11-for-his-last-72) or just-called-up Richie Shaffer, was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room.

Nava will join the Rays on Friday as they begin an extended stretch against primarily right-handed starters. He is expected to see action in the corner outfield spots and DH slot.

"He gives a really professional at-bat," said manager Kevin Cash, who has played with and against Nava. "He does a nice job against right-handed pitching. He makes pitchers work a lot."

Nava has returned to switch-hitting after going exclusively left-handed for a while, Cash said. Nava's best season came in 2013, when he hit .303 with 12 homers, 66 RBIs and an .832 OPS while playing in 134 games and helping the Sox to the World Series title.

Nava, who has about $617,000 remaining on his $1.85 million salary is out of options but under team control for two more seasons.

CABRERA OKAY: SS Asdrubal Cabrera said he was okay after an odd and scary play in the 10th inning when he was struck on the side of the head by a throw from C Curt Casali which deflected off his glove.

Cabrera went to the ground in pain, allowing Chicago's Adam Eaton to advance to third and eventually score the winning run. Cabrera stayed in the game, but three batters later he went to a knee in continued discomfort and was taken out. After testing at the stadium, the Rays said there was no concussion, only a contusion.

It was an eventful day for Cabrera, who had four hits to extend his hitting streak to nine games, with a sizzling .500 average (17-for-34), but also got caught rounding first too wide and cost the Rays a chance to tie in the seventh.

ERASMO UNSURE: RHP Erasmo Ramirez didn't have much of an explanation for how he could pitch so badly to start the game, allowing the first five Sox to reach and score, then so well the next five innings, allowing only two baserunners.

"I didn't execute. That's what was happening in the first inning," he said. "After that inning everything was better. But … it was too late."

Cash said Ramirez's problem was throwing "a lot of pitches that probably caught too much of the plate."

REHAB REPORT: OF Desmond Jennings was 0-for-4 as the DH for Durham and is 2-for-16 with two walks in his first five rehab games. … LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder) is slated to throw five innings/75 pitches tonight for Durham against Indianapolis in the third of at least four rehab starts.

MISCELLANY: Today is the first of three off days in eight days. … 3B Evan Longoria has reached safely in 13 straight games, hitting .377 (20-for-53), including his 12th homer Wednesday.

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