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Rays Journal: The Trop strikes again – and knocks out Hechavarria

Foul ball takes wicked bounce.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria leaves the game with his left eye bruised and swollen, accompanied by manager Kevin Cash. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria leaves the game with his left eye bruised and swollen, accompanied by manager Kevin Cash. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
Published May 9, 2018
Updated May 9, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — Only at the Trop.

And only to the Rays.

SS Adeiny Hechavarria had to leave Tuesday's game with a bruised and swollen left eye as the result of one of the oddest plays you'll see:

A pop-up hit a speaker attached to the catwalk in foul territory behind home plate, caromed out behind the mound, bounced off the turf and Hechavarria tried unsuccessfully to catch it, then struck him above the eye.

"Definitely weird,'' Hechavarria said.

The ball was called foul by first base umpire Adam Hamari, but none of the Rays infielders seemed to know and scrambled to try and make the catch on the Ronald Acuna Jr. ball.

Hechavarria didn't need anything more than ice for the swelling Tuesday, but said he won't know until today if he can return to the lineup after the latest Trop moment.

"For it to knock a guy out of the game, that's pretty odd,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Jonny be good

Manager Brian Snitker and other Braves were quite excited to see former teammate LHP Jonny Venters now that he is back in the majors with the Rays for the first time since 2012 after battling multiple elbow injuries.

"I saw him at breakfast this morning (at the team hotel) and I said it was the happiest day of this summer for me when I heard he got called up and saw that he pitched,'' Snitker said.

"I'm just so proud and happy for him and everything he went through and what did for us when he was here. I mean, my God. It blows me away what he went through to get back.''

Venters said facing his ex-mates would be "emotional,'' then got to show them, working a 1-2-3- ninth, his fourth scoreless outing since returning.

Pitching updates

• Promising prospect RHP Jose Mujica is the latest starter to be sidelined by injury, placed on the DL at Triple-A Durham with a forearm strain. An upcoming MRI and exam will tell more, but for now the Rays are hoping Mujica is in a similar situation to RHP Yonny Chirinos and miss only about a month.

• LHP Ryan Yarbrough will start Wednesday, manager Kevin Cash saying the number of lefties in their lineup make him a good match. Though Yarbrough seemed likely to step into the rotation in place of Chirinos, Cash said the decision will be more on a start by start basis.

• RHP Nathan Eovaldi will make the second of four planned rehab starts today for the Class A Stone Crabs in Fort Myers. Eovaldi, who has arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage pieces from his elbow March 30, will move up next to Durham and is eyeing a return around May 24.

• RHP Chris Archer will start one of the games in Saturday's doubleheader at Baltimore, with a bullpen day group effort likely planned for the other. Teams get to call up a 26th man for doubleheaders, which likely will give the Rays an extra arm to work with. LHP Anthony Banda could be an interesting option.

Joey Bats at the Trop – with Braves

There was plenty of chatter going around during the winter and spring about the possibility of longtime Blue Jays star Jose Bautista signing with the Rays. Bautista, who lives in Tampa, clearly was interested. The Rays talked about it internally but decided they would rather go with the younger players they had, plus adding Carlos Gomez and Rob Refsnyder. Did discussions between Bautista, who ended up signing with the Braves in mid April, and the Rays ever get serious?  "I'll let them speak to that if they choose to,'' Bautista said Tuesday. "I don't know if it would have worked out, but it would have been a good alternative for me given that I live here.''

Miscellany

• Plant High product OF Preston Tucker welcomed the chance to spend a couple days, especially Monday's Braves off-day, with family in Tampa. He'll have his family plus Panthers High coach Dennis Braun on hand Wednesday.

• Cash had both catchers in the lineup for just the second time this season, DH-ing Wilson Ramos, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games, and putting Jesus Sucre behind the plate.

• Class A Bowling Green won a franchise-record 10th straight.