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Rays looking at Vidal Brujan for postseason roster spot

Notes | Versatility at the plate and in the field, plus speed on bases, make him an appealing option.
Vidal Brujan "can play all over the place,” manager Kevin Cash says, which makes him an intriguing potential postseason add.
Vidal Brujan "can play all over the place,” manager Kevin Cash says, which makes him an intriguing potential postseason add. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Oct. 4|Updated Oct. 4

BOSTON — The Rays brought Vidal Brujan back from Triple-A to give him a look during the final three games of the regular season, with an eye toward including him on the 26-man Wild Card Series roster.

Manager Kevin Cash said Brujan’s speed and versatility as a switch-hitter and defensively, with the ability to play infield and outfield, make him an appealing option to fill a number of roles. He led off and played second base Monday, though he went 0-for-4.

“He’s so versatile that he can help in many ways,” Cash said. “Facing lefties, that’ll be one. Pinch running. Late-game defensive replacement — second (base), outfield, he can play all over the place.”

This is Brujan’s fourth stint with the Rays this season, having hit .165 with two homers, 15 RBIs and a .479 OPS in his first 49 games. But at Durham, he has hit .292 with six homers, 21 RBIs and an .809 OPS in 63 games. He said he learned some things that should help him in the big leagues after the unexpected call-up following his 4-for-5 performance in Saturday’s International League championship game.

“Just to stay focused, continue to have fun, play a little bit more relaxed and a lot more calm,” he said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “Just let the game come to me.”

Brujan’s promotion was one of a series of Monday roster moves, which included the return of Kevin Herget to add a fresh arm to the bullpen. The Rays took full advantage, as Herget threw 77 pitches in working the final 4 1/3 innings.

Infielder Miles Mastrobuoni, called up Sept. 22 for his debut, was sent down to Durham, which is done playing. Right-hander Easton McGee, who allowed one unearned run to the Astros over three innings Sunday in his impressive debut, was designated for assignment.

Catcher Rene Pinto and lefty Josh Fleming were added to the taxi squad. Pinto could be activated as soon as Tuesday as Francisco Mejia heads back to Florida to be with his wife for the birth of their third child.

Locked-down bullpen

The Rays not using any of their top relievers in close games Sunday and Monday was by design and part of their playoff prep. “Once we realized we weren’t going to have an opportunity for home field (in the first round), I think the best thing that we can do is make sure that we are 100 percent going into the postseason,” Cash said. “We know we’re gonna lean on these guys.”

Costume party

Rays rookie players and staff wore super hero-themed costumes for the team dress up Sunday.
Rays rookie players and staff wore super hero-themed costumes for the team dress up Sunday. [ TRICIA WHITAKER | Special to the Times ]

Sunday’s dress-up trip for rookies and other less experienced players and staff, with a loose super heroes theme, got good reviews. Among the favorite pairings, chosen by veteran David Peralta and home clubhouse/equipment manager Tyler Wall: Speedy Jose Siri as The Flash (which he embraced by sprinting everywhere), Jason Adam as Black Panther and 5-foot-10 Taylor Walls as Thor. “I’ll call him Mini-Thor,” Adam said.

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Cash said third-base coach Rodney Linares made the right call in stopping Wander Franco at third in the ninth inning as the tying run with one out after he hit a ball that got to the centerfield wall. Franco has hits in 16 of his last 18 games. ... The Rays dropped to 27-27 in one-run games, losing six of their last seven. … Cash congratulated the Durham players and staff for winning Sunday’s Triple-A national championship game.

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