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Rays have been busy, open to adding starter before deadline

Rays notes | Having filled their biggest need and moving Rich Hill, there is an opportunity to look around a bit.
The Rays' Shane McClanahan pitches in the third inning against the Blue Jays on July 9.
The Rays' Shane McClanahan pitches in the third inning against the Blue Jays on July 9. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Published Jul. 25
Updated Jul. 25

CLEVELAND — The Rays already have made two big deals, and there is time for more, with the trade deadline not until 4 p.m. Friday.

After filling their biggest need by acquiring right-handed slugger Nelson Cruz on Thursday, the Rays kind of reorganized their rotation on Friday, clearing a path for rookie Luis Patino by trading veteran Rich Hill to the Mets.

That would imply they are comfortable going forward with the current group of Shane McClanahan, Ryan Yarbrough, Michael Wacha, Josh Fleming and Patino, along with having Shane Baz available in the minors (after the Olympics), plus Chris Archer working his way back from injury, and Tyler Glasnow possibly doing so in September.

But general manager Erik Neander said they also remain open to upgrading the rotation if the right opportunity presents.

While that doesn’t mean they will pursue Nationals ace Max Scherzer (scratched from Saturday’s start due to triceps discomfort) or that former Ray Charlie Morton will be made available by the Braves, the Rays are willing to look. And given the inconsistencies of some of their starters, it seems likely to be more than just window shopping. The Rangers’ Kyle Gibson is among many they will consider.

“I know the guys are working really hard and reaching out to teams, and we have teams reaching out to us,’' manager Kevin Cash said Saturday. “The way it goes these last five, six days, week, whatever, it’s pretty consistent. It goes quiet for a little bit. And all of a sudden, the text messaging and phone calls come out of nowhere. So I would anticipate it’ll be similar to that.

“I know that with Erik and our group’s moves already, we’re going to do everything ... to better our club. And if opportunities arise, they’ll put their heads together and come up with a really good decision.’'

Draft report

In signing sixth-round pick Mason Montgomery, a lefty pitcher from Texas Tech, the Rays have 18 of 21 selections under contract. Unsigned heading into the Aug. 1 deadline are third-round infielder Ryan Spikes, eighth-round lefty Patrick Wicklander and 16th-round righty Ian Leatherman.

Quote of the day

“I’m sick of him. You can print that.’'

— Indians manager Terry Francona, joking about his good friend and protege, Rays manager Kevin Cash, as they have been together for two series and the All-Star Game festivities over the past 20 days.

Miscellany

• Ryan Yarbrough is scheduled to start Sunday against Cleveland rather than work behind an opener. Though lefty Ryan Sherriff was added to the taxi squad Saturday morning, there was no word after the game about adding him to the roster.

• Outfielder Manuel Margot (left hamstring) went 0-for-5 and played nine innings in centerfield for Triple-A Durham in the second of a planned three-game rehab assignment before a Tuesday return to the Rays.

• The Rays beat the Indians for the sixth time this season and 11th straight overall, one shy of their longest streak against any opponent, going 12-0 against the Orioles in 2008. They also won 11 straight against the Twins in 2012-13.

• Indians manager Terry Francona was sent home before the game due to symptoms from a bad cold; bench coach DeMarlo Hale managed.

• Saturday was the year anniversary of the start of the delayed and abbreviated 2020 season. Since then, the Rays have gone 100-59 (.629) in regular-season play.

• At 41 years and 22 days, Nelson Cruz on Friday became the second-oldest player in Rays history to hit a homer. The only one older? Wade Boggs was 41 years and 53 days when he homered on Aug. 7, 1999, for his 3,000th career hit.

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