ST. PETERSBURG — Carson Williams was thrilled to be at Tropicana Field Tuesday, the Rays’ top pick in last week’s draft and No. 28 overall signing his first pro contract — and for a $2.35 million bonus at that.
“Unbelievable,” Williams said. “A day kids dream of every single day. Growing up playing every sport possible and coming out with signing a professional contract for baseball, it’s incredible. Just couldn’t be more happy.”
But Williams, the 18-year-old multi-talented shortstop, will be more excited to get to Port Charlotte Wednesday and get on the field for the first time.
“I’m ready to go, ready to play some baseball,” he said. “That’s what I’m here for, so it should be fun.”
Williams’ last game for San Diego’s Torrey Pines High was June 10, so he is eager to get back into a routine, having spent most of the last six weeks either in pre-draft workouts or doing individual work.
After getting cleared medically (”a long day of needles and MRIs”) and meeting Rays general manager Erik Neander and other staff (“everybody here is good people”), Williams was excited to see Tropicana Field for the first time (”it’s amazing”).
As to when he hopes to be playing on the turf as a big-leaguer?
“I’m ready to go when they’re ready,” he said. “Whenever they feel it’s right to bring me to the next level, I’m working with them, and I’m putting in as much effort as possible.”
Yandy Diaz sidelined again but okay
Yandy Diaz felt good until just about game time on Tuesday, giving every indication he was past the neck spasms or, more specifically, manager Kevin Cash said, a nerve issue running up Diaz’s neck and into his face leading to a “pretty good headache.”
But when Diaz started to “crank it up” for the game, in which he was to bat leadoff and play first base, he felt it again, enough that he was scratched from the lineup. But treatment during the game helped, and Cash said the Rays’ training staff “feels pretty optimistic that it’s probably another day and then he should be good to go. So that’s a good sign.”
Also Tuesday, infielder Mike Brosseau (right oblique strain) was reinstated from the injured list after playing one rehab game for the Florida Complex League (FCL) team and optioned to Triple-A Durham. … Outfielder Manuel Margot (left hamstring strain) hit against Nick Anderson, homering on his last pitch, and ran the bases and is on track for a potential return next week.
Anderson to start rehab assignment
Anderson, out since spring with an elbow sprain, is set to start a rehab assignment Friday. Though Cash said the right-hander still “has got a ways to go” and Anderson said he wasn’t thinking ahead, that’s a big step toward his return.
Anderson, who threw 20 pitches of live batting practice Tuesday, is slated to pitch once or twice for the FCL team based in Port Charlotte, then move up to Triple-A Durham. Rehab assignments for pitchers last 30 days, which puts Anderson on track to return by late August.
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The initial goal, Cash said, is to get Anderson in a routine for regular work. “We’ll just see and hope the arm bounces back, he feels good while he’s pitching and everything, the velo, the location/command come to life like we’ve seen him be the best reliever in baseball last couple seasons,” he said.
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