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Now-Marlins infielder Joey Wendle will miss Rays reunion

Notes | A rehab assignment to complete recovery from a hamstring strain is his top priority.
Joey Wendle will miss the Marlins' series against the Rays at Tropicana field while starting a short rehab assignment with low Class A Jupiter to complete the final stage of his recovery from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since May 11.
Joey Wendle will miss the Marlins' series against the Rays at Tropicana field while starting a short rehab assignment with low Class A Jupiter to complete the final stage of his recovery from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since May 11. [ MIKE MCGINNIS | AP ]
Published May 23

ST. PETERSBURG — Joey Wendle would really, really like to be at Tropicana Field this week, playing for his new Marlins team against his old Rays mates, chatting with team staff and executives and, undoubtedly, engaging in some mutual teasing and tormenting with manager Kevin Cash.

But his sore right hamstring got in the way.

Wendle on Tuesday instead will be starting a short rehab assignment with low Class A Jupiter to complete the final stage of his recovery from the hamstring strain that has sidelined him since May 11, with hopes of being activated Friday.

“I was so close,” Wendle said Monday from Miami after completing a workout. “There’s been a disappointment for the last 10 days not being able to play with my own guys, so that’s the biggest thing. But I think everybody kind of looks forward to going back to play in a city where you played for a long time, just seeing those guys and (where he) had a lot of really good times and special memories with that team.

“So I was definitely looking forward to seeing a lot of the players and staff and front office. But I guess we’ll have to wait until they come to our place (in late August).”

Wendle and Cash had a great rapport during their four years together and an odd way of showing it, with mutual jabs at each other’s skills, or lack thereof. Cash usually capped it by referring to the versatile infielder, who was a 2021 All-Star, as “Mendle,” referencing the erroneous way his name was spelled on an MLB Network graphic several years ago.

When Wendle was traded Nov. 30, he joked that in now playing for Marlins manager Don Mattingly, a six-time All-Star and former AL MVP, he was “looking forward to somebody who can actually coach me.”

Once Wendle realized a couple of days ago that he wasn’t going to be able to make the Trop trip, he texted Cash something along the lines of, “the video board message and the ovation will have to be put on hold.”

He said Cash, who had a .183 career batting average over parts of eight big-league seasons, texted back: “I know that Mattingly is a better manager than me, but can you honestly tell me he’s a better hitter than me?”

Wendle, 32, got off to a good start for the Marlins before getting hurt, hitting .304 with two homers, 10 RBIs and an .824 OPS.

The Marlins will still roll into the Trop with several ex-Rays on their roster, including pitchers Dylan Floro, Louis Head and Cole Sulser; outfielders Avisail Garcia and Jesus Sanchez; and infielder Jesus Aguilar.

Saturday is a sellout

The Rays announced that Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. game against the Yankees is sold out, which will mean a crowd of about 25,000, the capacity with the upper deck not in use. It will be the Rays’ second sellout of the season, and Sunday could be a third. On Friday, all fans will get a Wander Franco chain necklace.

Springs had some issues

Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs throws to an Orioles batter during the fourth inning of a Saturday's game in Baltimore.
Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs throws to an Orioles batter during the fourth inning of a Saturday's game in Baltimore. [ GAIL BURTON | AP ]
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Jeffrey Springs’ strong 5-2/3-inning outing in Saturday night’s stifling Baltimore heat was even more impressive. During the third inning, the Pitch.com receiver in his hat stopped working and he didn’t hear the pitch call, so he had to indicate to catcher Francisco Mejia to go back to using signs until he could get a new receiver after the inning. Then after the fourth, Springs slipped after walking down the two steps from the field to the dugout and took a pretty good fall. “It’s always something,” he said.

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