Rays’ Wander Franco sidelined by quad soreness, status unclear

Notebook | The dynamic shortstop was limited for one month and missed another last season with issues in the same area.
Wander Franco was supposed to be the DH on Saturday, but sat out with soreness in his right quad.
Wander Franco was supposed to be the DH on Saturday, but sat out with soreness in his right quad. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published March 25

ST. PETERSBURG — Shortstop Wander Franco was scratched from the lineup for Saturday’s exhibition game due to right quad soreness, and the Rays aren’t sure about the extent of the issue yet.

“I don’t really know much other than just some soreness in the right (quad),” manager Kevin Cash said after the 4-2 win over Boston. “Not overly concerned right now, but certainly not ideal to have (it happen to) a guy at this point of spring training. But glad that Wander said something and we’ll check on him (Sunday).”

Franco had issues with his right quad and other leg muscles, which limited his play for one month, then he was placed on the injured list and sidelined another month for a right quad strain last season.

Franco and the Rays said at the start of spring that he did extensive offseason training and had a pre-game stretching routine designed to eliminate future issues. Franco participated in the World Baseball Classic and played for the Rays four times in the previous six days; he was to be the DH on Saturday.

Patino sent down

Yonny Chirinos lost some competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation with Luis Patino sent to Triple-A.
Yonny Chirinos lost some competition for the No. 5 spot in the rotation with Luis Patino sent to Triple-A. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Right-hander Luis Patino was optioned to Triple-A following another rough outing on Friday, reducing the field for the open No. 5 spot in the rotation to Yonny Chirinos, who threw a solid five innings on Saturday, and lefty Josh Fleming, who is slated to pitch Monday.

In 9 2/3 innings over five spring outings, Patino allowed 11 hits (including three home runs) and seven walks.

“Credit Luis for taking some information, trying to work while he was competing,” Cash said. “The last two outings maybe weren’t the best representation of himself. We understand that. He faced a pretty good (Mets) lineup (Friday). But (we) think it would probably be best for him to get down (to the minors) and continue to work on the things that he needs to work on.

“The message was pretty simple, like, we need him to be a big part of our team, and if he is, that means good things.”

Chirinos, who returned in September after missing two-plus years with elbow issues, pitched better as spring went on, though he allowed 12 hits and six walks in 12 1/3 innings. Saturday was the first time he worked five innings since before his injury.

“I feel good, thank goodness,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “After two years not being able to have a regular spring training, the body feels good. I think it’s responding really well. … I’m glad the spring went the way it did.”

Safe at home

Straight steals of home aren’t common in the regular season, much less in the seventh inning of an exhibition during the last weekend of spring training. But that’s exactly what Jose Siri did — after walking, stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch.

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“(Durbin Feltman, the pitcher) was pretty calm, and he was moving pretty slow on the mound,” said Siri, via Navarro. “So I had noticed that. I’m the type of player that likes to always move on and advance to the next base, so that’s what I was thinking.”

Siri said he had stolen home in Triple-A and Dominican league games before, and he may try to do so for the Rays. “We’ll see in the season,” he added in English.


The Rays released veteran right-hander Kyle Crick, who had signed a minor-league deal just before spring training, reducing the roster to 43. ... Outfielder Ben Gamel told the Rays he won’t use the Sunday out clause in his minor-league deal and plans to report to Triple-A Durham and play there. ... Infielder Daniel Robertson won’t have a spot with the Rays or Durham unless something changes, and is hoping to get a chance to play regularly, at least, at the Triple-A level somewhere. ... The Rays improved to 15-12-1 with two spring games remaining; the Sox for the second time this spring brought a squad of mainly minor-leaguers aside from veteran starter Corey Kluber.

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