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Rays’ Wander Franco exits rehab game earlier than expected

Manager Kevin Cash says the shortstop “felt it a little bit,” but he doesn’t expect any X-rays.
Wander Franco, pictured during batting practice Aug. 24, was slated to play seven innings of shortstop for Triple-A Durham on Monday.
Wander Franco, pictured during batting practice Aug. 24, was slated to play seven innings of shortstop for Triple-A Durham on Monday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 6|Updated Sep. 6

ST. PETERSBURG — Wander Franco left his second rehab game early due to issues with his right hand.

He was slated to play seven innings at shortstop for Triple-A Durham on Monday, but he “felt it a little bit” in his second at-bat and was pinch-hit for in the fifth, manager Kevin Cash said. Franco went 1-for-2, with a single and groundout, before exiting.

Cash doesn’t plan for Franco to get X-rays, and the Rays will see how Franco feels before determining his status for Wednesday. The Bulls have an off-day Tuesday.

“(Franco) just kind of said, ‘That’s good,’” Cash said.

Franco resumed his rehab Sunday for a broken hamate bone in his right hand, which he sustained July 9 and had surgery for three days later. He originally started a rehab assignment Aug. 16 but exited after two at-bats with soreness. The Rays then pulled him off the rehab assignment five days later amid continued discomfort.

Franco went 2-for-4 in five plate appearances Sunday. The tentative plan was for him to play with the Bulls through Sept. 10; at this point, it’s unclear how his timeline will be affected.

Bruján spiked, exits game

Vidal Brujan exited the game in the ninth inning after he was spiked by Alex Verdugo.
Vidal Brujan exited the game in the ninth inning after he was spiked by Alex Verdugo. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Vidal Bruján exited in the ninth inning Monday after Boston’s Alex Verdugo spiked him sliding into second base. Cash said he’ll likely be day-to-day but should be OK.

Bruján, who didn’t have a problem with the way Verdugo slid, was also hit by a pitch in the elbow while pinch-hitting in the seventh. He said his right knee hurts more, though.

“I’m feeling a little pain at the moment, but the doctor said (the knee) wasn’t gonna be anything too bad so that’s good news,” Bruján said via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Díaz addresses ‘bad call’

Nearly 23 hours after he struck out looking to end the game, Yandy Díaz still hadn’t stopped thinking about the final strike call that sealed a 2-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday. Díaz thought the pitch from reliever Clay Holmes was low and a “bad call.”

“Everybody saw it, and I don’t think a decision like that should be made to decide a game,” Díaz said via Navarro. “And we have good batters coming up after me that were looking to hit.”

Díaz has produced a 17-for-39 line with a 1.137 OPS the last 10 games. During that time, the ball has sometimes looked “like a soccer ball,” he said.

A tough decision on Wisler

Matt Wisler, seen here in a July outing, is a free agent after this season.
Matt Wisler, seen here in a July outing, is a free agent after this season. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
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Cash said it “stunk” to designate for assignment veteran reliever Matt Wisler, and that if he clears waivers and wants to stay in the organization and go to Triple-A Durham, he would be welcomed.

But the decision also seemed to indicate the Rays felt they were better off keeping JT Chargois (who, like Wisler, is also out of options) as well as rookie Calvin Faucher and lefty Garrett Cleavinger, who could have been optioned but then not eligible to be recalled for 15 days.

Wisler, 30 next week, was 3-3, 2.36 in his first 38 games for the Rays this season, striking out 34. He missed six weeks due to a neck strain, was reinstated Thursday after an unimpressive rehab stint and worked two innings Sunday, allowing one hit.

Wisler, who gets the remainder of his $2.16 million salary, is a free agent after the season. The move also opens a spot on the 40-man roster the Rays will need at some point.

Miscellany

Cash met with Ji-Man Choi on Monday to talk about his recent slump, and he said the Rays will continue to try and help Choi find a rhythm ahead of a “big month.” Choi has just five hits in his last 54 at-bats, striking out 26 times. … Reliever Colin Poche, who threw a scoreless eighth inning, had “maybe the best breaking ball we’ve seen him use in quite some time,” Cash said. … Reliever Pete Fairbanks had retired 19 straight batters until allowing a leadoff single in the ninth. … With the win, the Rays clinched their season series against the Red Sox for a fourth consecutive year.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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