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Rays newcomer Jose Siri looks to be quite a catch, based on his defense

Notes | The centerfielder acquired from Houston made one “unbelievable” catch in his Tampa Bay debut and just missed on another.
Rays centerfielder Jose Siri, right, receives a high-five from leftfielder David Peralta, left, after he catches a line drive hit by Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette during the third inning of Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.
Rays centerfielder Jose Siri, right, receives a high-five from leftfielder David Peralta, left, after he catches a line drive hit by Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette during the third inning of Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Aug. 2|Updated Aug. 3

ST. PETERSBURG — Jose Siri went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his debut for the Rays on Tuesday yet still made quite a first impression with his play in centerfield.

Siri made one dazzling catch in the third inning, racing 70-some feet to his left and making a sliding catch to rob Bo Bichette and save at last one run.

“Unbelievable play,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Kind of came out of nowhere. Very encouraged. Good to see.”

Starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen had a similar view.

“Oh, that was huge,” he said. “Our front office just doesn’t miss on talent, and his ability to go run after that ball and run it down was unbelievable. It was a run-saving play, for sure, and it definitely kept us in the game and it allowed me to go back out for deeper into the game and eat another inning that the bullpen didn’t need to cover.”

Siri jumped up and pounded his chest after the play but said later it wasn’t that special. “I’ve made plays like that before, it’s not the first time,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Siri’s near miss on a blooper to shallow center in the ninth, which scored two Jays runs, was more on his mind.

“I thought I had it,” Siri said. ‘It was on the end of my glove, but I think the impact of when I hit the ground is when it popped out. ... I think it would have been a really special play.”

Cash noted the degree of difficulty.

“He was frustrated with himself that he didn’t catch the final one,” he said. “I’m not sure how many centerfielders do catch that one.”

Medical matters: Mejia, Diaz, Mead

Catcher Francisco Mejia’s sore right shoulder is feeling better, enough so that he got four at-bats as the DH in the Florida Complex League on Tuesday. He will travel with the Rays to Detroit after Wednesday’s game with the potential to be activated when eligible on Friday. ... Third baseman Yandy Diaz was not in the lineup Tuesday, as Cash said he wanted to give him one more day to rest the right knee he banged up on a slide a few days ago, so he can play Wednesday vs. Jays lefty Yusei Kikuchi. ... Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is scheduled for surgery Wednesday in Nashville to clean up the labrum in his left hip, and the degree of repair needed will determine if he will be ready to start next season. ... Triple-A infielder Curtis Mead, the Rays’ top position player prospect, looks to be out two-three more weeks with a right elbow strain that forced him out of a July 23 game. … Pitchers Yonny Chirinos (Tommy John surgery) and Brendan McKay (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery) moved their rehab assignments to Class A Charleston (S.C). and pitched Tuesday.

Miscellany

Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener in Wednesday’s matinee, with Ryan Yarbrough slated to work bulk innings. ... Drew Rasmussen on Tuesday lost at Tropicana Field for the first time in 18 appearances. ... Assuming a routine game on Wednesday, the Rays and Jays will play twice in roughly 20 hours. … Siri will wear No. 22 for the Rays; the No. 26 he had in Houston is worn by Ji-Man Choi. … Lefty Angel Perdomo, designated for assignment Sunday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Durham.

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