ST. PETERSBURG — Taylor Walls was not in the lineup Monday because of a sore groin, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash. The shortstop had played in the last two games in Cleveland after missing more than a month with an oblique injury.
“His groin is a little sore. I think it could be from just getting ramped up and then playing the back-to-back days,” Cash said before the Rays’ series-opening 7-3 loss to the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
“So I hope he makes some improvement and feels a little bit better. He’s available if needed, but don’t want to push it.”
Walls missed 35 games with the oblique strain but ramped up quickly to rejoin the Rays in Cleveland. He played in two Triple-A games before returning and Cash announcing that he would take the majority of starts at shortstop. The Rays are without All-Star shortstop Wander Franco, who was placed on administrative leave as MLB investigates allegations of inappropriate relationships with minors.
Rookie Osleivis Basabe had filled in while Walls was injured, and Vidal Brujan was at shortstop Monday.
Yandy Diaz and Isaac Paredes were out of the lineup on Monday as well, but both said they were physically fine.
“We’ve asked a lot of them. Figured that travel day might be the best time,” said Cash, also pointing out that Red Sox starter Brayan Bello is tough on right-handed hitters. “He’s tough on both but the opportunity presented, maybe get some lefties in there.”
Diaz, who is trailing only the Rangers’ Corey Seager for the best batting average in the American League, said he would prefer to play.
“Personally, I think I get more tired on the days off,” Diaz said via interpreter Manny Navarro. “If it was up to me, I would like to play every day so that the body can react differently.”
Hamilton is a playoff possibility
Billy Hamilton, who the Rays signed to a minor-league deal at the end of August, is set to report to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday. The speedster is getting consideration for the Rays’ possible playoff roster.
The 32-year-old Hamilton has stolen 326 bases over 951 big-league games, getting caught 72 times. In the playoffs, he could provide a solid option as a pinch runner.
“Pretty serious. I mean, it’s something that we factor in all the time,” Cash said of Hamilton’s ability to steal bases. “You’ve got to get to the postseason first but I think we were looking at him as a potential weapon.”
Hamilton is a career .239 hitter with just a .292 on-base percentage. He was released by the White Sox in August and the Rays signed him before the Sept. 1 deadline, so he would be eligible for a playoff roster.
Margot a go
Manuel Margot, who had surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow, is getting close to being sent out on a rehab assignment. The outfielder could be playing in Triple A by “early next week.”
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“Manny is gonna start hitting the cage tomorrow, take a day off, then take some live (batting practice) with us and then I hope we’re going to get him to Durham early next week,” Cash said.
Margot has been on the injured list since Aug. 15.
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