ST. PETERSBURG — Inexplicably unable to find any team willing to take slick-fielding SS Adeiny Hechavarria by Tuesday's trade deadline, the Rays took the next obvious step Wednesday in designating him for assignment.
That gives the team seven days to see if anything changes to make a deal, pass Hechavarria through waivers, or release him and eat the remaining $1.9 million on his contract as it clears the way for top prospect Willy Adames to play every day. (Hechavarria has enough service time to decline an assignment to Triple A.)
Manager Kevin Cash said Rays executives "did everything they could to find a match" for Hechavarria (below) and seemed surprised they couldn't.
"Hech is deserving to be a major-league shortstop, an everyday player,'' Cash said. "He's got the track record that's proven that. Wish him nothing but the best. He was a lot of fun to watch for all of us over the last year.''
Hechavarria, acquired from Miami in June 2017 for minor-leaguers Ethan Clark and Braxton Lee, was informed of the decision when he got to the Trop on Wednesday and declined to talk to reporters.
As much as the Rays tried to make it work for Adames to get the experience he needs and Hechavarria to get the playing time he deserved, Cash acknowledged it was an "awkward" situation, while praising both for how they handled it. Adames' .200 average and inconsistent play in the field seem like evidence.
"It had to have been somewhat awkward knowing that we've got this defender who we consider is very elite and Willy is a young player that has to get his career going,'' Cash said. "It came at a crossroad for a couple weeks.
"We feel like that situation now has opened up for Willy to go play and have some peace of mind while doing so.''
All-Star LHP Blake Snell was closer to traded RHP Chris Archer than any of the current Rays, so he had one of the tougher goodbyes before Archer headed to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. "I was over at his house until late in the night (Tuesday),'' Snell said. "It was good speaking about old times, how lucky we were to play with each other, to be teammates as long as we were, to build the bond that we had. Just being able to learn from each other — I think we both helped each other out a lot more than we ever thought we would. We built a friendship that is going to last forever. We're very close. We've been talking all day (Wednesday), we'll probably be talking for all day for the rest of our lives, just because of baseball. Special guy, special human, special talent. Everything about him is pretty amazing. Sucked to see him go.'' … Archer, meanwhile, arrived in Pittsburgh marveling at how many people recognized him at the airport and said he was "stoked" by the move with his first start coming Friday, noting, "It's been a while since I played winning, meaningful baseball.''
Rookie 1B Jake Bauers homered for the third straight game — "I think you'd have to go back to high school" for the last time — and SS Willy Adames for the first time since July 6 as the Rays improved to 55-53 with a 7-2 win. … RHP Jake Faria, activated off the 60-day disabled list, worked 3⅔ innings, allowing one run. … RF Mallex Smith had a double, triple and two stolen bases.
LHP Blake Snell (shoulder fatigue) said his Wednesday bullpen went much better than Sunday's, and if he wakes up feeling good, he would expect to rejoin the rotation this weekend. "Happy with the way the ball is coming out,'' he said "The electricity in my arm feels like it's coming back. I was very happy with a lot. Excited to see where we go from here.'' … LHP Vidal Nuno (hamstring) has been shut down for a few days after what he called "a little setback" and Cash said was "plateauing,'' either way stopping him from starting a rehab assignment as planned. … RHP Chaz Roe (knee surgery) threw his first bullpen session Tuesday.
Number of the day
13 Players on Rays' 25-man roster Wednesday who were not there during the May 20 series finale in Anaheim, 52 percent.
• Angels RF Kole Kalhoun's first-inning homer was the seventh to splash into the rays touch tank since it opened in 2006; last was Minnesota's Robbie Grossman on Sept. 5, 2017.
• The Rays decided to have RHP Hunter Wood work as the opener Thursday, with LHP Jalen Beeks, acquired last week from Boston, working the bulk of the innings.
• RHP Tyler Glasnow on Wednesday became the team's 15th starter this season, most in the majors and also in team history.