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Thursday, Jul 19, 2018
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Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham.

"It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bending over or doing anything, so it's nice,'' Robertson said.

With Robertson back, manager Kevin Cash now has four middle infielders, including Adeiny Hechavarria, Joey Wendle and Willy Adames. Cash said Robertson will be used at either third, shortstop or second. He also said Robertson could see some time in the outfield.

"He can play everywhere, that's what makes him so special,'' Cash said. "He'll play a lot of second and a lot of third. He'll play some at short, even though we have Hetch and Willy back. And then we'll also look at him and Wendle in the outfield. We just want to make sure everyone is in a consistent routine and getting at-bats.''

Wendle could play in the outfield sooner rather than later. With plenty of options, Cash and his staff will have to put in extra thought before filling out each lineup card.

"It's going to be challenging,'' Cash said. "You're sensitive to everybody's thoughts, and they all want to play. It's going to be up to me and the staff to make sure we're balancing it the right way and keeping everybody fresh.''

Archer: ‘Bullpen was really good’

RHP Chris Archer has been out with an abdominal strain since June 2. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Friday, all fastballs and changeups. "The bullpen was really good,'' Archer said. "I feel like the last week my body has really come a long way. I don't wake up with any soreness. But (today) is going to be big just to see where my level of soreness is.'' Archer threw a bullpen session two weeks ago and felt soreness the day after. He had not thrown again until Friday. The plan is to throw another session Monday. "We have a rough outline, most of it's in pencil though,'' he said. "All I know is as long as I feel pretty good (today), I'll throw another bullpen Monday, and we're going to continue to play it by ear.''

A second opening day for KK

The last time Kevin Kiermaier played at the Trop was April 15, when he tore ligaments in his right thumb while sliding into second. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list but re-joined the Rays in Houston earlier this week. Friday was the first time playing in front of the home crowd since the injury, and he admitted there would be some nerves. "This is like opening day all over for me,'' Kiermaier said. "There will be some jitters, but I just need to slow the game down. I'm excited to put on this uniform again.'' His return, so far, has not been spectacular. He was 0-for-9 at Houston, despite going 7-for-17 in rehab stints at Class A Port Charlotte and Triple-A Durham. "It's funny how this game works,'' he said. "I go from squaring every ball up in my rehab assignment, then my swings haven't been very good up here, although I was facing some good pitching. I go back to last year on my rehab assignment and I got like three hits in 20-something at-bats. Then I come up and hit like .450. But as long as my body feels good, then I know offensively things will come around.''

Arroyo cautiously optimistic

INF Christian Arroyo has had no baseball activities since being put on the 10-day DL after last Saturday's game in New York. He has a left oblique muscle strain. The hope is for him to return before the All-Star break (July 17). "I don't know what the timetable is at all,'' Arroyo said. "Obliques are kind of tricky, so it's kind of hard to tell. The good thing is I don't think it was anything significant. It wasn't like I had a severe strain or anything, nothing crazy. … I've started to do some mobility stuff and I've been able to get through it.''

Nice start, kid

Nick Schnell, the Rays' third pick in this year's draft (No. 32 overall), couldn't have started his professional career any better. Schnell homered in his first at-bat for the Gulf Coast League Rays. He was Indiana's Gatorade Player of the Year and hit 15 home runs as a high school senior.

Times staff writers Marc Topkin, Allana Barefield and Megan Bens contributed to this report.

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