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Rays happy to have Joey Wendle and his bat back in the lineup

He wasn’t the only returning Ray on Friday night; Austin Meadows is back in the outfield.
Rays second baseman Joey Wendle (18) misses a single by Los Angeles Angels shortstop David Fletcher (6) during the fourth inning. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)
Published Jun. 15

ST. PETERSBURG — Joey Wendle returned to the Rays’ lineup on Friday night, batting seventh and playing second base against the Angels.

Wendle spent more than a month on the injured list with a fractured right wrist that he sustained April 24.

"There’s plenty of nights that you always wish you had that extra left-handed bat, so having Joey back there is going to be huge,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.

Entering play Friday, Wendle posted a .422 OPS through eight games in 2019. He served as the primary second baseman for the Rays a season ago, posting a .789 OPS with 33 doubles in 139 games.

Cash expects Wendle to play a lot for the Rays, rotating between second base, shortstop and third base on a regular basis.

"I feel comfortable over at shortstop,” Wendle said. “If I’m called upon to do that once a week, or whatever that turns into, I certainly feel comfortable over there.”

MORE RAYS: Rays welcome No. 36 overall pick JJ Goss to the Trop

Meadows returns to the outfield

Austin Meadows returned to the lineup and the outfield. The outfielder fouled a ball off his foot on Wednesday against the Athletics. He remained in the lineup as the designated hitter on Thursday night, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. He appeared as a pinch hitter and struck out in the ninth inning on Thursday night against the Angels.

Rays’ plan for Trout: avoid him

When Cash was asked about Shohei Ohtani after he hit for the cycle on Thursday night, the manager quickly turned his attention to the superstar that hits before Ohtani.

"You got to deal with the guy ahead of him first though in Mike Trout, who’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen,” Cash said.

MORE RAYS: Pride Night extends team’s long support of LGBTQ community

Miscellany

The Rays signed a slew of other draftees this week. First baseman Jake Guenther, right-handed pitcher Evan McKendry, right-handed pitcher Trevor Brigden and centerfielder Christian Johnson agreed to terms on Thursday.

Contact Ryan Kolakowski at rkolakowski@tampabay.com. Follow @RyanKolakowski on Twitter.

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