Rays’ Wander Franco sits out with Durham, return to rehab not set

Notes | Soreness in the shortstop’s surgically repaired right hand will be evaluated on a daily basis.
Rays shortstop Wander Franco speaks with the media after taking batting practice at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
Rays shortstop Wander Franco speaks with the media after taking batting practice at Tropicana Field on Sunday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Aug. 18, 2022|Updated Aug. 18, 2022

NEW YORK — Wander Franco’s rehab from right hand surgery has been delayed, at least a couple of days and maybe more, due to soreness that forced him out of his first game for Triple-A Durham on Tuesday.

Franco sat out Wednesday’s game at Norfolk, Va., and received treatment on his hand, having broken his hamate on a swing July 9. He had surgery July 12. His status for Thursday’s 12:05 p.m. game for the Bulls won’t be known until he sees how he feels in the morning, and, if better, then after some pregame work.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he talked with Franco on Tuesday night and that he was “just a little bit sore” and was not expected to be out for an extended time.

The Rays were hoping Franco would play enough with the Bulls this week to be activated over the weekend or early next week. Now it might come down to a matter of the 21-year-old’s tolerance to play through the soreness.

On the Bulls’ pregame radio show, Durham manager Brady Williams said Franco did have a setback but could still be ready by Sunday’s series finale.

“He had one grimacing swing (Tuesday), (and) the last swing kind of sent him over the top,’’ Williams told broadcaster Patrick Kinas. “(Wednesday) he had a minor setback, so we’ll reassess … see where he’s at (Thursday).

“Hopefully he can get some treatment (Wednesday) and feel better (Thursday). There’s still four more games left in the week to see how he responds to that. He’s still on track to get out of here, hopefully with it being healthy.’’

Outfielder Manuel Margot, out since late June with a patellar tendon strain in his right knee, went 0-for-3 with a walk Wednesday in his sixth rehab game. He is slated to DH for the Bulls on Thursday and rejoin the Rays on Saturday, the first day he’s eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.

Reliever JT Chargois, out since an early April with an oblique strain, is also nearing a return, having made his ninth appearance for the Bulls, and second straight scoreless outing, on Tuesday. Reliever Nick Anderson is nearing the end of his rehab window and is slated for back-to-back-outings Thursday-Friday.

Pitchers Yonny Chirinos (August 2020 Tommy John surgery) and Brendan McKay (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery) shifted their rehab assignment from Class A Charleston (S.C.) to Durham.

“Yonny has worked really, really hard to get to this point; his (velocity) has spiked up,’’ Cash said. “Brendan, he’s working, too. The stuff hasn’t quite gotten to where he was before the injury but would expect that it takes a lot of time for that.’'

Luis Patino to start Thursday

To get an extra day’s rest for their starters in a stretch of playing 17 straight days, the Rays are dropping a spot stater into the rotation Thursday against the Royals — Luis Patino. The right-hander is being called up from Durham, likely just for the one outing, having had an up-and-down season between injuries and inconsistency. He is 0-1, 6.75 in three starts for the Rays and 2-1, 3.70 in seven for Durham between rehab and post-option starts. The Rays will have to make room on the 26-man roster; reliever Jimmy Yacabonis would seem a likely candidate to be dropped. ... The Royals are also calling up a starter for Thursday after moving Brad Keller to the bullpen; right-hander Max Castillo seems to be a leading option.

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The Rays were walked off for the eighth time, and dropped to 8-8 in extra innings. ... Brandon Lowe returned to second base for the first time since Aug. 10 after dealing with a sore right shoulder. He said the soreness was not related to his hitting slump, as his eighth-inning single Wednesday snapped an 0-for-20 skid, and left him 2-for-29 with 11 strikeouts since Aug. 6. … The Rays had a winning road trip for just the second time in nine tries, and are 7-10-1 in road series.

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