ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.
It is a curious selection given that Puello, 26, is a career minor-leaguer who played in one big-league game, this month with the Angels.
"It's a guy that's got a track record of hitting," manager Kevin Cash said after the 7-6 loss to the Mariners. "(He's an) outfielder, speed guy. Can steal some bases, but we like his bat and think that he can come in and complement our lineup well."
The corresponding move will be made before today's game.
Puello, a right-handed hitter, is out of options. He split this season at Triple A between the Rangers and Angels, hitting a combined .327 with 13 home runs, 61 RBIs and a .903 on-base plus slugging percentage.
A Trop rings first
Mariners C Mike Zunino asked about the ground rules concerning the Trop's catwalks before Friday's game. He was told that anything off the A and B rings (the top two) are in play as long as the ball strikes one in foul territory. On Saturday, Zunino saw first-hand what happens when, in the seventh inning, his high fly struck the B-ring and caromed toward left-center. Rays SS Adeiny Hechavarria chased after the ball and made a diving catch. He then threw to second, where 2B Daniel Robertson tagged CF Guillermo Heredia, who tried to tag and advance. "I saw it the whole way," Hechavarria said via a translator. "After it hit the catwalk, it kind of took a weird spin on it, but I stuck with it. I don't know how I caught it. I just caught it." It was the first time in Trop history that a fair ball off the A or B rings was turned into a double play. "Put me in the books," Zunino said. "Well, the first day I asked what happens if it hits it, so I kind of brought it on myself. … Just one of those freak things. Hechavarria made a great play. What can you do about it?"
Green light for Cobb
RHP Alex Cobb (turf toe) was given the all-clear after throwing an extended bullpen sessioin and pitching two innings of a simulated game. He expects to rejoin the rotation during the upcoming series against the Blue Jays. "I think we got the green light to go full speed and pick up hopefully where we left off where pitch counts and anything like that will be irrelevant," Cobb said.
Batting third and wearing No. 3 …
Is once again 3B Evan Longoria. After batting second for two games, Longoria was in his familiar No. 3 spot. "I tried that for two days, and it didn't work," Cash said. "Or it didn't work the way we wanted it to. It didn't get immediate results. There's comfort for 'Longo' hitting third. I like having him hit third. That's where he'll hit." As for the top of the order, Cash said he will stick with CF Kevin Kiermaier.
Visitors of the day
In an effort to keep things loose during a 12-game, four-city road trip that began Friday, Mariners manager Scott Servais has a surprise planned for his team during each series. Saturday, the Mariners were visited by a python, a baby alligator, a snapping turtle and an iguana.
• RHP Matt Andriese (hip) said his left leg was a little sore after he was struck just above the ankle during a minor-league rehab start at Class A Charlotte. He played catch and was scheduled for a bullpen session today.