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Rays’ Taylor Walls is having a tough time catching on

Notes | The normally sure-handed infielder has made seven errors as he moves around to play various positions.
Rays shortstop Taylor Walls uncorks a throwing error to first baseman Harold Ramirez during the sixth inning Thursday night against the Yankees.
Rays shortstop Taylor Walls uncorks a throwing error to first baseman Harold Ramirez during the sixth inning Thursday night against the Yankees. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published May 27|Updated May 27

ST. PETERSBURG — Taylor Walls is considered one of the best defensive infielders.

But 44 games into his first full big-league season, he has made seven errors, tied for second most in the American League.

The most recent came in a pivotal moment during the sixth inning Thursday when Walls made a throw from shortstop that bounced past first baseman Harold Ramirez, allowing two runs to score and giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

Manager Kevin Cash said Walls, to a degree, is a victim of circumstances, the natural shortstop being asked to also play second and third base, and pairing at times with Ramirez, who is getting his first big-league action at first.

“Wallsy is a really good defensive player and no concern for him defensively,’’ Cash said.

Walls said he has made some mistakes on plays but is more focused on doing a better job preparing by working at all three positions. He has four errors at short, two at third and one at second.

“It’s definitely a lot tougher,’’ he said. “Shortstop, of course, comes comfortable. It’s just one of those things where maybe working at short 10-15 days out of the season so far. I’m used to working there 50. …

“I’ve got to get used to it. That’s my role on this team right now. It’s something that I’ve been working on, but I haven’t done the best job of doing, so it’s something that I’ll work harder on in the future.’’

Rays address gun violence

Citing the most recent mass shootings that had “shaken us to the core,’’ the Rays made a $50,000 donation to the Everytown for Gun Safety gun-violence prevention organization and issued a statement saying they are “committed to actionable change.’’ It read, in part: “This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.’’ The Rays and Yankees used their Twitter accounts Thursday to share data about gun violence rather than game highlights.

Yankees add Matt Carpenter

Former St. Louis standout Matt Carpenter was a late add to the Yankees lineup Thursday, less than three hours after his signing was announced. Carpenter, 36, was released from Texas’ Triple-A affiliate last week, where he hit .275 in 21 games. The three-time All-Star told Yankees manager Aaron Boone that he was ready to load bags on the plane if necessary. Instead, he batted eighth as the DH after leadoff man and centerfielder Aaron Hicks was scratched due to right hamstring tightness (he expects to play Friday).

“Excited to put a Yankee uniform on and be a part of the best team in baseball right now,” Carpenter said.

The Yankees, already missing Giancarlo Stanton (calf strain) and Josh Donaldson (COVID-19 injured list), were also without DJ LeMahieu and his .395 average against lefties, though he was said be feeling better. He has been out since Tuesday with left wrist discomfort. The Yankees also called up lefty Manny Banuelos.

Miscellany

Announced attendance was 14,610. … Wander Franco was the DH for the fifth time (going 1-for-4, and now 2-for-21 in the role). Cash said they “are just trying to stay ahead” of a recurrence of the leg issues that have sidelined Franco, with plans for him to play shortstop the next three games. … Rich Hollenberg will do the Bally Sports TV play-by-play on Friday as Dewayne Staats attends his grandson’s graduation. … Cash said that Shane Baz’s velocity and overall stuff were good in his second rehab start for Triple-A Durham on Wednesday, when he allowed one hit over 2⅓ innings and threw 48 pitches. The right-hander, who had arthroscopic elbow surgery in March, is eligible to return June 6.

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Times staff writer Greg McKenna contributed to this report.

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