TORONTO — Already missing injured CF Kevin Kiermaier and 2B Brad Miller, the Rays played Tuesday without SS Tim Beckham due to soreness in his right knee that could an ongoing issue.
The discomfort appeared to be more from cumulative effect than any trauma, potentially related to Beckham playing all four weekend games, and in a 45-hour window due to Saturday's doubleheader.
"Beck played a lot of baseball over the last weekend against the A's," manager Kevin Cash said. "His knee, it's just some general soreness. Give him (Tuesday) off and see how he comes in (today). Hopefully it's not too long."
Beckham has been one of the key players in the Rays lineup, his 10 homers and 31 RBIs ranking in the top four of all major-league shortstops. He had major surgery on that knee in December 2013.
Daniel Robertson shifted to shortstop on Tuesday, with Taylor Featherston taking his place at second. If Beckham were to go on the DL, the Rays could promote top prospect Willy Adames.
Draft yields FSU SS, 6 arms
The Rays started Day 2 of the draft by taking FSU SS Taylor Walls with the fourth pick of the third round then stocked up on college pitchers — some unheralded, some seniors with no leverage — with six of their remaining seven picks, including USF's Phoenix Sanders in the 10th.
Scouting director Rob Metzler said the Rays didn't plan originally to load up on college arms, but whom they took in the early rounds — or perhaps the hefty bonuses they will get, led by top pick Brendan McKay — led them to do so.
"That was certainly not a strategy coming into the draft, really just a function of how our draft played out," Metzler said. "I think maybe some impact between how our picks up top came out led us more down the college road in the second half of the top 10 rounds, so there could be some influence in that way. Really, we took the best player that we were able to acquire in each spot."
Walls hasn't matched his All-American sophomore season performance (.355, 20 doubles, six homers, 46 RBIs) this year (.276, 8, 8, 47), but Metzler said the Rays are "optimistic that sophomore season is more the player that he is and we're excited to be able to get him at the spot we got him."
After picks from St. Mary's College (Drew Strotman), Division III Webster University (Josh Fleming) and College of Idaho (Riley O'Brien), the Rays took Sanders from USF.
Metzler said Sanders "may be short of a few of our other picks (on the radar gun)," but is "a great competitor." (For more, see tampabay.com/blogs/bulls.)
The draft continues today with rounds 11-40.
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Getting a real feel for things
CF Mallex Smith was out on the Rogers Centre infield and basepaths early Tuesday afternoon in his bare feet. Smith, whose game features running and bunting, said he tries to do so whenever playing at a new stadium, and he also pats the ground with his hands. "I like to see what it feels like on my feet, how comfortable it is," he said. "See what the dirt feels like, see the material because it can be different. It's a true feeling."
C Wilson Ramos (knee surgery) moved his rehab to Triple-A Durham, DHing on Tuesday (and going 2-for-4 with a homer) and catching tonight, eyeing a potential June 25 return. … RHP Brad Boxberger (flexor) and RHP Diego Moreno (shoulder) also moved to Durham and are set to pitch tonight for the Bulls. … SS Matt Duffy is continuing workouts in Florida but, in a potentially significant move, will soon go back to see Dr. Bob Anderson, who did the September surgery on the left heel that remains problematic.
. Kristen Eck, the former fiancee who alleged C Derek Norris "physically and emotionally" abused her, was slated to talk to MLB investigators. Eck did not reply to messages; MLB officials said they could not discuss details of an investigation.
. DH Corey Dickerson moved up to third in AL All-Star team voting but remains well behind Seattle's Nelson Cruz, 863,549 to 668,702. Online voting ends June 29.
. The Triple-A Durham Bulls had quite a time getting to Columbus, Ohio, when their bus broke down about two hours into the 7-plus hour trip, and it took nearly three hours to get a replacement, delaying their arrival until past 4:30 a.m.