ST. PETERSBURG — Isaac Paredes had reason for his big smile after Wednesday’s 6-1 win.
Like hitting two long homers against the Tigers team that shocked the infielder by trading him (and a draft pick) to the Rays in late March for Austin Meadows.
“Like I’ve said before, I want to beat them,” Paredes said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I want to play against them. I’m just giving 100 percent of the skill that I have, and I’m just very fortunate to be here and have the opportunity to be able to play against them.”
Paredes heard some chatter from his former mates as he played third base near the Detroit dugout and went out to left, near the bullpen, in a four-outfielder alignment.
“After the first (home run), yeah, I heard guys in the bullpen saying some things,” he said. “But after the second one, I don’t think they wanted to say anything.”
When Detroit manager A.J. Hinch heard Monday that the Rays were calling up Paredes to replace injured Brandon Lowe, he joked that Paredes probably would do something big against them.
Wednesday, he saw it, blasts of 411 and 404 feet.
“He’s a good player, we knew that,” Hinch said. “We got a good player in return.”
“That ex-team thing is real, certainly at this level,” Hinch added. “He certainly had it (Wednesday).”
For what it’s worth, Paredes’ two homers are two more than Meadows hit in his 28 games with the Tigers before he was sidelined this week due to vertigo.
Pitching in: Baz, Sanders, Bard
Starter Shane Baz, sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery in March, will start a rehab assignment Thursday, working two innings for Triple-A Durham. If all goes well, he could be built up to five innings and available to join the Rays on or shortly after June 6, when he is eligible to be reinstated.
“We’re very excited,” Cash said. “(Rehab pitching coach) Rick Knapp was very excited about the way that he looked in his extended (spring) outing. … I think he’s going to be close to that date. It’ll just all depend on how he responds, how he bounces back, if he’s able to get his workload in, all of those things.”
Reliever Phoenix Sanders (back spasms) was reinstated from the injured list and optioned to Durham, for whom he made two rehab appearances. Sanders, a USF product, had a 1.80 ERA over five appearances in his first big-league action before being sidelined in early May.
”Happy that he’s healthy and expressed to him that he did everything in his power to show that he certainly can help us,” Cash said. “Now, just get into the routine and let’s see how this unfolds over the next couple days, weeks, games, whatever it is. You always need pitching.”
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Reliever Luke Bard was added to the 40-man roster but will stay with Durham for now. Bard, who earlier was suspended 10 days for using an illegal substance, had an assignment clause in his contract, so the Rays had to add him or let him go to another team. Reliever Chris Mazza (back) was shifted to the 60-day injured list, delaying his potential return to June 17.
Matt Wisler’s walk of Jonathan Schoop to open the seventh ended the Rays’ streak of 26 innings without a free pass. … The Rays are 5-1 in series rubber games. … Paredes became the 14th Ray to homer, second-most behind the Giants’ 15. ... Jalen Beeks will be the opener Friday in Baltimore, with Ryan Yarbrough expected to work the bulk of the innings. … After playing 22 games in 23 days, the Rays have two of the next five off, then play 13 straight days.
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