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Rays’ Wander Franco sidelined again due to leg issues, could go to injured list

Notes | The shortstop is not in Saturday’s lineup; manager Kevin Cash says “every part of both legs has bothered him.’’
The Rays' Wander Franco is tagged out by Orioles catcher Anthony Bemboom during the 13th inning Friday night.
The Rays' Wander Franco is tagged out by Orioles catcher Anthony Bemboom during the 13th inning Friday night. [ NICK WASS | Associated Press ]
Published May 21|Updated May 22

BALTIMORE — The Rays are giving shortstop Wander Franco some time off to deal with ongoing issues in both legs. The question now is how much, with an injured-list stint among the options.

Franco was not in Saturday’s lineup due to right quad discomfort and could sit again Sunday in advance of Monday’s team off-day.

“It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to find a way to give him three days off with the off-day on Monday,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Not saying that we’re going to do that. We’ll just see how he responds to treatment.’’

Saturday was the third game among the Rays’ first 40 that Franco has missed due to quad and hamstring issues, and he has been limited to DH duty in four others. Plus he has been told by his coaches not to run hard on routine plays to help protect his legs.

“Right now it’s the quad; it’s gone back and forth, and it’s kind of cycled through each leg,’’ Cash said. “Every part of both legs has bothered him.’’

For now, the Rays are evaluating Franco’s availability on a daily basis.

They are in a similar situation with high-leverage reliever Andrew Kittredge, who has been sidelined since Tuesday due to a back issue.

“It’s just not going to go away,’’ Cash said. “We’ll just take it day to day, see how he feels.’’

The Rays likely will decide soon on placing one or both on the injured list.

“We’ll see,’’ Cash said. “We can’t continue to play short. We’d certainly like to avoid that, but we want to do smart by them and the rest of the guys.’’

Yandy Diaz leaves game with injury

As if the Rays aren’t banged up enough with Manuel Margot and Brandon Lowe also out, infielder Yandy Diaz left Saturday’s game against the Orioles with a left shoulder strain after sliding headfirst into home in the sixth inning. Cash said they won’t know until Sunday if Diaz will be sidelined, and if so, for how long. Cash said he was encouraged that Diaz initially wanted to stay in the game. “In a situation like that, I don’t like to get out of the game, but the pain was there and so I thought it’d be a good idea to leave,’' Diaz said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I don’t like to miss any time, so I’m hoping to be able to play (Sunday).’’ Diaz said the injury occurred as he tried to avoid Harold Ramirez’s bat that was on the ground: “I was a little bit scared of how I was going to hit home plate with the bat in the way and then when I went and slid trying to avoid it, I kind of felt something in the shoulder.’'

Miscellany

Margot (hamstring) worked out again during pregame. He is targeted for rehab action in extended spring training Monday and/or Tuesday and a return to active duty Wednesday when eligible. ... Reliever JT Chargois headed back to St. Petersburg for an MRI exam after aggravating his left oblique injury Friday when warming up on the mound for his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Durham. He has been out since early April with the oblique issue. ... The Orioles called up catcher Adley Rutschman, the top pick in the 2019 draft who this year was ranked the top prospect in the game. He tripled in the seventh for his first hit. ... Corey Kluber starts for the Rays on Sunday, the 1-year and 3-days anniversary of the no-hitter he threw for the Yankees at the Rangers.

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About Friday night

The Rays' Brett Phillips slides home to score on a single by Yandy Diaz during the 10th inning Friday against the Orioles.
The Rays' Brett Phillips slides home to score on a single by Yandy Diaz during the 10th inning Friday against the Orioles. [ NICK WASS | Associated Press ]

• The Rays’ streak of 15 straight wins over the Orioles ended in frustrating fashion, as they blew three leads — of three, two and one run — and lost on a two-run walkoff homer in the 13th inning by Rougned Odor off Ralph Garza Jr.

• The Rays rapped 10 hits but were 6-for-23 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. On the mound, nine Rays combined to allow 11 hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts, throwing 165 pitches.

• The game was the Rays’ longest (by innings) since playing 13 at home against Detroit on Aug. 17, 2019, and longest on the road since playing 18 at the Twins on June 27, 2019.

• It was the fourth time this season that the Rays lost after holding a lead and the first with a multirun margin. It was the second time this season they were walked off, also on May 8 at Seattle.

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