Rays journal: Struggling Austin Pruitt sent to minors, Diego Moreno called up

Rays reliever Austin Pruitt had allowed runs in nine of his 12 outings in the majors this season.
Rays reliever Austin Pruitt had allowed runs in nine of his 12 outings in the majors this season.
Published May 10, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — The up-and-down start to RHP Austin Pruitt's big-league career took another turn Tuesday when he was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

He was replaced in the bullpen by RHP Diego Moreno, whose contract was selected from Durham.

Pruitt, 27, appeared in 12 games and allowed runs in nine of them.

"Kind of a unique month," manager Kevin Cash said. "Did a lot of things to help us win some games and did some things that you can tell he's still young and adapting to a new role, so I think it's more just to give him the opportunity to kind of reset, get down there, get in a good rhythm, get feeling good about himself again."

Cash said Pruitt will continue to pitch in relief with the Bulls.

Meanwhile, the Rays added another hard thrower to the bullpen.

Moreno, 29, was 5-for-5 in save opportunities for the Bulls. He had 17 strikeouts and three walks in 161/3 innings. He did not allow a run in his last 10 appearances covering 141/3 innings.

Souza sits

The frustration continues for RF Steven Souza Jr., who was not in the lineup after injuring his right thumb during Monday's loss.

"These last two weeks" stink, Souza said.

Souza is in a 2-for-26 slide and is 4-for-36 in his past 10 games, a slump that began during a series at Toronto from April 28-30.

"Toronto did their job," he said. "Trying to go up and in and got me uncomfortable and trying to get my feel back under me ever since."

Souza suffered the injury when he was jammed by a pitch from RHP Nathan Karns in the third inning that resulted in Souza grounding into a double play. He left the game after the seventh inning.

"I woke up (Tuesday) and it wasn't any better," Souza said. "It's a pretty common thing. It just got blown up a little too much. The nerve is a little traumatized right now. I don't have a timetable."

Ramos getting closer

C Wilson Ramos is "very excited" about his progress in recovering from right knee surgery. He is tentatively targeting starting a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of this month and returning to the majors in late June.

In addition to running and hitting, Ramos has begun doing some work behind the plate and hopes to start catching bullpens and blocking balls next week.

"I'm really happy working behind the plate, that is my priority," Ramos said. "I know I could play DH for this team, but I'm concentrating more on being ready behind the plate. I love to catch and that's where I want to be."

Ramos said he would expect to start DHing for a couple of days to get his swing right but wants to be ready to catch when he returns, and to be 100 percent at that time.

Duffy update

SS Matt Duffy was 1-for-3 with a strikeout and played four innings in the field Tuesday for Class A Charlotte against Clearwater in the first game of his minor-league rehab assignment.

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. Minor-league RHP Bryan Bonnell was traded to Seattle to clear $321,100 of international cap space. The Rays have to spend it by July 2.

. LHP Justin Marks, designated for assignment Saturday, was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers.

. Samuel Young, 10, from the Children's Dream Fund, was Tuesday's Champion. He was given a tour of the clubhouse by his favorite Ray, Rickie Weeks. Weeks then doubled and singled in his first two at-bats.