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New Ray David Peralta gets right to work

Notes | The outfielder, who had spent his entire career with the Diamondbacks, is excited for a new chapter.
The Rays' David Peralta watches his single off Guardians relief pitcher Trevor Stephan during the eighth inning Sunday.
The Rays' David Peralta watches his single off Guardians relief pitcher Trevor Stephan during the eighth inning Sunday. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published Jul. 31|Updated Aug. 1

ST. PETERSBURG — After spending his nine-season major-league career with the Diamondbacks, new Rays outfielder David Peralta spent most of Sunday learning his new environment at Tropicana Field.

Peralta was in the lineup in leftfield, batted fifth and went 1-for-4 — an eighth-inning single in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland.

“We have an off-day (Monday), right?” Peralta said afterward. “Good, I need it.”

Even while settling in, Peralta said he’s excited to be with the Rays and join the American League postseason race. He’s a career .283 hitter who won a 2018 Silver Slugger Award and a 2019 Gold Glove. He ranks among the Diamondbacks’ all-time leaders in games (961, third); hits (960, third); doubles (191, fourth), RBIs (468, fourth) and home runs (110, sixth). But he had only one year, 2017, when the D’backs made it to the postseason.

David Peralta spends his first day as a Ray getting acclimated to Tropicana Field.
David Peralta spends his first day as a Ray getting acclimated to Tropicana Field. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

“It’s just exciting to see him,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s a guy who has a lot of experience and reps, while putting together a pretty good season. I think he’s a presence we can plug into the lineup and take some pressure off the young guys.”

The Rays acquired the Venezuela native for minor-league catcher Christian Cerda.

Peralta said he had some emotional goodbyes with his Arizona teammates on Saturday but was eager for his new beginning.

“This is all new to me … and it feels the same way it felt when I first got to the big leagues,” said Peralta, who turns 35 on Aug. 14. “I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to try to do too much. Just help the team win. They know I can play. … It’s exciting. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of, to be in the postseason race.”

Josh Lowe sent down

To make room for Peralta, the Rays sent outfielder Josh Lowe down to Triple-A Durham (for the second time this season). The Rays had high hopes for Lowe after trading Austin Meadows to the Tigers and the results have been uneven at best. Lately, though, Lowe was on an uptick and had batted .333 (10-for-30) since the All-Star break.

With the outfield seemingly set — Peralta in left, Brett Phillips or Roman Quinn in center, Randy Arozarena in right and Luke Raley filling in at a corner spot when needed — Cash said the premium was Lowe getting every-day at-bats.

“They’re all tough conversations,” Cash said. “I talked to Josh and was honest with him. He’s such a priority for us. He has to go down there and play every day. That was the honest message. He has been trending in the right direction and I give a lot of credit to him and Chad (Mottola, hitting coach). Josh has learned a lot since he came up the first time.”

Zero-sum game

Rays infielder Taylor Walls gave up his No. 6 to Peralta, who has had that number his entire major-league career. Walls is now No. 0.

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“It’s really paying respect to him,” Walls, 26, said. “He kind of reached out and made it known he’d like to keep the same number. As a young player who has respect for veteran players like that, I think it’s the right thing to do. That number means more to him than it does to me.” Walls said he had mostly worn Nos. 10 and 1 when he was much younger.

Peralta said he appreciated the gesture and will plan “something special” for Walls.

Miscellany

Shane McClanahan allowed seven hits with exit velocities of 49.2 mph, 66.1, 67.1, 79.0, 84.5, 86.9 and 89.5, according to Statcast. “That’s the way it’s going right now,” Cash said. “It’s tough for us to get momentum — momentum in the game, momentum winning games.” … The Rays are 16-35 when allowing four runs (or more). … Their month-by-month record — April: 12-9; May: 16-12; June: 12-14; July: 14-13. … Brandon Lowe (two doubles) is batting .340 with a .553 slugging percentage since returning from the 60-day injured list on July 16.

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