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Rays add Jonathan Aranda, Matt Wisler as rosters expand

The infielder has been hitting well at Triple-A Durham; the reliever is over the neck strain that sidelined him in late July.
Jonathan Aranda will give the Rays a left-handed bat off the bench, another starting option at first base and the ability to play second, third and the corner outfield spots.
Jonathan Aranda will give the Rays a left-handed bat off the bench, another starting option at first base and the ability to play second, third and the corner outfield spots. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 1|Updated Sep. 1

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays added hot-hitting rookie infielder Jonathan Aranda and veteran reliever Matt Wisler Thursday as rosters league-wide expanded from 26 to 28.

Aranda, 24, has had a breakthrough season at Triple-A Durham, hitting .318 with 18 homers, 85 RBIs and a .915 OPS. He will give the Rays a left-handed bat off the bench and another starting alternative at first base in addition to Ji-Man Choi and Harold Ramirez. He also has the ability to play second base, third base and the corner outfield spots. In two brief stints with the Rays in June and July, he was 6-for-16.

“Aranda made a really positive impression earlier in the season,” Rays general manager Peter Bendix said from Charlotte, where Durham was playing. “It’s a potentially special bat. The season he is having and the potential for that left-handed bat helping us down the stretch was the main thing.”

Wisler, 29, has had an important role at times in the Rays’ bullpen, using a slider almost exclusively to get key outs, but has been sidelined since late July with a neck strain.

He is 3-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 28 games for the Rays with 34 strikeouts and 14 walks in 42 innings, used five times as an opener. His numbers in four rehab games weren’t good — five hits and four runs over 3-2/3 innings (9.92 ERA), with one strikeout while facing 17 batters — so the Rays may be banking that a return to the majors will amp up his intensity.

“Wisler is healthy, and he’s ready to go,” Bendix said. “We could use his different look out of the bullpen. He’s had success this year, and it seemed this was the right time to activate him.”

Aranda and Wisler will join infielder/outfielder Vidal Brujan and reliever Calvin Faucher, who were called up Wednesday when starter Shane McClanahan (left shoulder) and second baseman Brandon Lowe (right elbow) were placed on the injured list. Reliever Ryan Thompson (triceps) went on the IL on Tuesday.

As a result, roster shuffling will continue through September, just with the the two additional spots. Another move is coming by Monday, as a starter (Luis Patino?) is needed to face the Red Sox.

Springs to cut back on tipping

After his Saturday start in Boston, Jeffrey Springs said his rough first inning (four runs on five hits and a walk) was a result of “allowing them to know what’s coming” when he worked out of the stretch. He wouldn’t say what he was doing to tip his pitches but felt he fixed it before the second inning, and the results supported that.

Springs starts Friday against the Yankees and likely will have many eyes on him seeking an edge.

“There’s people studying film left and right, and that’s just what the game is nowadays,” he said. “So, they’re trying to make adjustments and you’re constantly trying to make adjustments to combat what they’re finding and what they’re doing, whether it’s sequencing, or pitch-tipping, or whatever it may be.

“Hitters are really good. And with all the technology and cameras and everything, they’re going to learn your tendencies. So it’s a constant back and forth.”

Miscellany

Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) threw a live batting practice session Thursday after Durham’s game in Charlotte. Depending on how he feels Friday, he could advance next to rehab games. ... McClanahan got a cortisone shot Thursday to start his recovery from a left shoulder impingement.

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