Rays to take on Pirates with Wander Franco at shortstop

The top prospect, reassigned earlier this week, gets a start in a nationally televised spring game.
Wander Franco will start at shortstop against the Pirates today in Bradenton.
Wander Franco will start at shortstop against the Pirates today in Bradenton. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published Mar. 17, 2021|Updated Mar. 17, 2021

Though the Rays reassigned consensus top prospect Wander Franco and 10 others to the minors this week, they will continue to give them opportunities to play in some spring games.

And one of those is today, when Franco will start at shortstop against the Pirates in Bradenton, with the game airing live on MLB Network.

The decisions are made for various reasons, including the schedule.

The Rays have a simulated game/live batting practice session in Port Charlotte this morning and a day off on Thursday, so some of the front-line players will get the benefit of a shorter day today rather than making the trip to Bradenton.

(Players on the 40-man roster who were sent down to the minors typically don’t come back to play in spring games since they are on option.)

Tyler Glasnow, who earlier Wednesday was named the Rays’ opening day starter, will be on the mound.

Also Wednesday:

* Manager Kevin Cash said centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is slowed by tightness in his quad but should return to action Friday in Fort Myers. Kiermaier missed time at the start of camp due to hip tightness.

* Chris Archer, who worked 1-1/3 innings in his spring debut this past Friday, will make his next start on Friday and remains on track to start the season as scheduled.

* Collin McHugh and Brent Honeywell are among the pitchers who will throw in Port Charlotte in the simulated game.

* Infielder Mike Brosseau said his back was sore from being hit by a pitch Tuesday but he is fine.

Here is the Rays’ lineup against the Pirates:

And for the Pirates: