ST. PETERSBURG — Better safe now than sorry later.
That was the logic behind the Rays’ decision to put shortstop Taylor Walls on the 10-day injured list for right wrist tendinitis Thursday and call up reliever Drew Rasmussen from Triple-A Durham.
Rather than keep Walls in the lineup with what he called a “mild” and “small” injury, Tampa Bay will take the cautious route and sit the rookie until he’s made a full recovery.
“(We) just felt like this has been an ongoing issue,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We need to kind of put it to rest, and a couple days off will do that.”
Walls said he’d been dealing with mild wrist soreness for a couple weeks. It’d been a manageable, slow boil, but the sensation recently started spreading to his hand and forearm. Cash said they decided it’d be better for Walls to sit out a few games than aggravate the injury any further.
“I’m the guy that whenever I see I’m in the lineup, I’m gonna do the same exact thing regardless of what injury I have,” Walls said. “So, (Cash) wants to make sure that I have enough days off to rebuild the strength of it and give it the time it needs to heal and I don’t rush back out there.”
With the move retroactive to Wednesday and two off days next week, Walls, who received a cortisone shot, could miss as few as eight games and return July 3. Joey Wendle and newcomer Wander Franco will split time at shortstop.
Rasmussen, acquired form Milwaukee in the Willy Adames trade, made an impressive debut for the Rays Saturday in Seattle, then was optioned to Durham. He hadn’t pitched again for the Bulls when he was called back up Thursday and threw a scoreless sixth, allowing one hit.
Hats off for Castillo
Reliever Diego Castillo said he was surprised Wednesday when the umpires tossed out the cap he was using all season after noting “discoloration” on the brim as part of their now-mandated checks for illegal substances but was not concerned. “Not at all, because I knew there wasn’t anything there,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. Castillo said the spot was from touching it with rosin, which is legal. Cash said he spoke with Major League Baseball officials and praised the umpires for acting with “an abundance of common sense” after seeing the discoloration to avoid any questions from either team. Castillo said he got the cap back but can’t use it.
Not your average Joe
The Angels’ arrival for a weekend series marks Joe Maddon’s second visit back to Tropicana Field after his nine-year run as manager of the Rays as they transformed from 100-game losers to annual contenders. As when he first returned with the Cubs in 2017, Maddon should be welcomed back. “I certainly hope so,” Cash said. “The people that have been very influential and impactful to this organization, we all know Joe is right at the top of the list.”
• Andrew Kittredge will be the opener for the Rays on Friday, with lefty Josh Fleming expected to work the bulk of the innings.
• Franco struck out three times, the first time he did so in 217 professional games.
• Tickets for games from July 5 through the end of the season go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via the MLB Ballpark app at raysbaseball.com, with the Trop restored to full capacity of around 25,000.
• Infielder/outfielder Wyatt Mathisen, who was designated for assignment Tuesday to make room on the 40-man roster for Franco, was traded to Seattle for cash considerations.
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