Rays' Jerry Sands out with wrist injury

Jerry Sands, right, who has provided back-to-back game-winning pinch-hits this month, says he hopes to avoid surgery on his left wrist.
Jerry Sands, right, who has provided back-to-back game-winning pinch-hits this month, says he hopes to avoid surgery on his left wrist.
Published June 24, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' injury list grew again Monday with the addition of INF/OF Jerry Sands.

Sands is expected to miss at least three weeks with a strained tendon in his left wrist. Sands said he felt something wrong after his last swing Sunday, though he was not sure if he injured himself earlier in the game.

The Rays didn't move him to the disabled list until after the game, so they had only 24 healthy players on their roster. The team recalled INF Cole Figueroa from Triple-A Durham to take Sands' spot.

Sands said he hopes the injury heals on its own, though other players — including former Ray Sam Fuld and Toronto slugger Jose Bautista — have needed surgery for similar injuries.

"Obviously at this point in time in the season, we're going to try to rest it and see if it heals on its own," said Sands, who had his arm in a splint.

Sands had already been the beneficiary of previous Rays wrist/hand injuries. He was called up from Durham on June 1 after RF Wil Myers sustained a wrist stress fracture, and he has received more playing time since OF David DeJesus fractured his hand.

Sands appeared in 12 games this month and became the first AL player with back-to-back pinch-hit, game-winning RBIs in 24 years with his hits on June 15-16.

"(I was) getting that opportunity and trying to get in and battle and show them what I got, and then this happens," Sands said. "It's obviously disappointing."

BULLPEN BITS: LHP Cesar Ramos continued his hot streak this month with 21/3 perfect relief innings in a performance Rays manager Joe Maddon called perhaps the best he has seen from Ramos.

"I'll take it," Ramos said.

Ramos struck out the side in the sixth and added another strikeout in the seventh. He threw 23 of his 30 pitches for strikes but was pulled after that so Maddon could keep him fresh for the next two games. Ramos has allowed only one run and six baserunners in his past 122/3 innings.

After RHP Kirby Yates struggled to get out of the ninth, INF Logan Forsythe began to warm up in the bullpen. Maddon said he would have put in Forsythe if Yates had allowed another runner. Wade Boggs, Josh Wilson and Fuld remain the only Rays position players to appear as a pitcher.

MADDON ON MCCUTCHEN: Count Maddon among the many fans of Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen.

The reigning NL MVP earned Maddon's respect during spring training last year, when McCutchen beat out a routine grounder to short late in the game.

"Forever he's on my top-five list," Maddon said. "Forever. Forever. Forever and always."

McCutchen, who has been red-hot in June, had three singles in five at-bats Monday, adding two RBIs and two stolen bases.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Maddon said RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) is healthy after his third rehab start for Durham. Maddon hadn't spoken with the front office before the game about when Hellickson might return or whether he'll need another rehab start. Hellickson, who has given up 12 runs in 10 Triple-A innings, is a candidate to start in Friday's doubleheader at Baltimore.

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MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria is fourth at his position in the latest AL All-Star Game balloting update with 1,118,453 votes. Oakland's Josh Donaldson leads with 2.4 million votes. … NASCAR driver Aric Almirola is scheduled to participate in batting practice before tonight's game. The Tampa native and Hillsborough High graduate was a standout youth baseball player. NASCAR's Coke Zero 400 is scheduled to run at Daytona on July 5. … ESPN will air Monday's game at the Yankees, pushing back the first pitch from 7:05 to 7:10.