Rays journal: Pagan returns, Meadows reflects, Wendle close to action

Emilio Pagan built on a strong spring training at Triple-A Durham.
Before getting called up, Emilio Pagan hadn't allowed a run over six innings In four relief outings at Durham, holding opponents to a .095 batting average while striking out 10.
Before getting called up, Emilio Pagan hadn't allowed a run over six innings In four relief outings at Durham, holding opponents to a .095 batting average while striking out 10.
Published April 16
Updated April 16

ST. PETERSBURG — Right-hander Emilio Pagan pitched well enough in spring training to make the Rays’ opening day roster, but ended up being the final player cut before the team arrived at its final 25 players.

Pagan’s stay in the minors was brief. After starting out the Triple-A season strong, he was recalled Tuesday to fill left-hander Blake Snell’s spot on the roster. Snell went on the IL Tuesday with a broken fourth toe on his right foot.

“Obviously, I was disappointed,” Pagan said of being sent down. “If your goal is not to be in the big leagues, you’re not doing it the right way, in my opinion. I thought I put myself in a good position, but best team in the game right now, so you can’t be too upset with the decisions that have been made. It worked.”

In four relief outings at Durham, Pagan hasn't allowed a run over six innings, holding opponents to a .095 batting average while striking out 10 batters over that stretch. Three of his four outings were more than an inning.

"Just attacking," Pagan said. "Throwing a lot of fastballs early on, trying to get ahead in the count. Using both of my breaking balls to put guys away. All my pitches feel good. Main thing is just trying to throw more strikes as possible."

Rays manager Kevin Cash noted that Pagan continued to increase his fastball velocity at Durham, something that showed later in spring training, and will be a valuable length bullpen piece.

“He was our last guy we decided on at the end of spring training,” Cash said. “We felt he had a very deserving camp. We were confident eventually he’d be here. ... He’ll play a big role in our bullpen.”

Unmatched week for Meadows

Rays outfielder Austin Meadows can’t remember having a week like his last one, which earned him AL Player of the Week honors.

Meadows hit .545/.630/1.182 (12-for-22) with four homers, two doubles and 12 RBIs in five games last week. That included a two-homer game in Toronto on Friday night.

Asked whether it was the best week he's ever had, he mentioned his last week at Triple-A Durham last year, which included a three-homer game, but even that stretch wasn't as good this one.

"But definitely nothing like this in the major leagues," Meadows said. "So definitely doing something like this at such an early point in the season is definitely something a lot of guys strive for."

Keep in mind that Meadows started the season 1-for-10, his only hit come on a home run off Justin Verlander in his first at bat of the season. Since then, he's hitting .413/.491/.804 over his last 12 games.

Wendle getting back into games

Infielder Joey Wendle could return from a hamstring injury during the Rays' weekend series against the Red Sox.

Wendle said that he is slated to play in extended spring training games on Wednesday and Thursday to test the hamstring.

"The goal I'm shooting for is Saturday, something like that," Wendle said. "We're taking it one day at a time at this point, but all I know is that tomorrow I'm going to take some at bats in extended.

“I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where I need to play in games. I’ve done as much drill work, hitting and running that I can.”

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