ST. PETERSBURG — Given all the injuries the Rays are enduring, the sight of Joey Wendle fielding grounders at second base before Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers was a welcome sight for the team.
Wendle hasn’t seen game action since his right wrist was fractured after being hit by a pitch during an April 24 game against the Royals, and he still isn’t expected to return from the injured list until next month, but his recovery is progressing.
And Wednesday marked a big day for Wendle. He had a four-week follow-up X-ray and was told he could ditch the hard removable cast on his wrist.
“It’s about time for it, too,” Wendle said with a smile. “It stinks.”
Wendle still has many more hurdles to overcome before an anticipated June return. The broken bone in his wrist hasn’t fully healed, and he still must work on strengthening the wrist and getting a better range of motion while gauging how much he should do without risking a setback.
"I'm free to kind of move forward as I can tolerate," Wendle said. "We're still going to be smart with it at this point. ... I think (Yankees slugger Aaron) Judge had a similar injury last year and had a couple setbacks, so I want to avoid that. But as far as today's news goes, it was good and we'll move forward from here."
Rays manager Kevin Cash said he will keep a close eye on Wendle to prevent a setback.
"I imagine the pain hasn't completely subsided, but knowing Joey and the person he is, he wants to be in the field so he'll push it a little bit," Cash said. "We'll just make sure we're pushing is intelligently. I still think he's got some time to make sure he gets ramped up with his swing and test out little things with his wrist."
Adames goes behind enemy lines to check on opponent
Rays shortstop Willy Adames, concerned about Dodgers pitcher Pedro Baez after his batted ball hit Baez in the knee Tuesday, went into Tropicana Field’s visiting clubhouse after the game to check on Baez.
“I went in just like it was the Tampa Bay clubhouse; they were looking at me like what are you doing over here,” Adames said. “I just wanted to check him out. ... I got him pretty good so I just wanted to see how his leg was.
”He was taking a shower so I had to wait for him for a few minutes," Adames added. “He just said hi to me before the game yesterday for the first time. He seems like a cool guy. But I would have done it for anybody. That’s just how I am.”
Adames received some teasing for going into the Dodgers clubhouse, but was able to meet former Rays baseball ops chief Andrew Friedman, who traded for Adames in 2014 before leaving to run the Dodgers baseball ops department.
“I didn’t know him,” Adames said. “That was cool. ... (Justin) Turner was cool. He was joking with me, and (Kenley) Jansen, too.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Wednesday that Baez could return as soon as Friday.
Diaz still sore
Yandy Diaz was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game Wednesday with a bruised right hand after he was hit by a pitch Sunday.
Diaz said he tested the hand by swinging in the batting cage before Wednesday's game and could still feel discomfort.
Cash thought Diaz could be available Wednesday off the bench, saying he was "day to day, hour to hour," and Diaz seemed uncertain about his return.
"Because of the pain that I'm having," Diaz said through interpreter Manny Navarro. "I don't know if it's day to day or I'm going to be out longer."
* Top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell (nerve issue) was re-evaluated on Monday and will rest another week. If all goes well, he will resume throwing next week. Honeywell has been idled since mid April in his rehab from spring 2018 Tommy John surgery.
* Kevin Burkhardt will make his Rays TV debut in the team’s upcoming series in Cleveland, filling in for Dewayne Staats.
* After national anthem singer’s Kristy Hodges’ microphone went out about a third of the way through the song, the Trop crowd accompanied her through the rest, and afterward Dodgers manager Dave Roberts left the visiting dugout and went out of his way to shake her hand, putting a nice ending to an awkward situation.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at [email protected]. Follow @EddieInTheYard.