ST. PETERSBURG — The key to SS Willy Adames rapping two of the biggest hits in the Rays' 4-0 win Saturday actually took place the night before.
An RBI single that snapped an 0-for-12 and a second hit two winnings later in Friday's game restored some of the rookie's confidence that had been waning despite the extra work he had been doing in the batting cage.
"I needed a game like that,'' he said.
And then Adames built on it Saturday, delivering an RBI single in the second and a home run in the seventh, and on an 0-and-2 pitch to the opposite field. In two days, he hiked his average from .182 to .231.
"It was good to see him carry over,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "He was starting to shake a little bit as far as the confidence. In fairness, that's going to happen. But (Saturday) had to be a good feeling day for him.''
Fellow rookie Jake Bauers also delivered, doubling in the first run and later inches foul of a three-run homer.
RHP Matt Andriese will start Sunday in another bullpen day for the Rays. LHP Blake Snell had been listed as the starter, but Cash said that was a communication error as they planned all along to give him and RHP Nathan Eovaldi an extra day's rest and have them face Washington Monday and Tuesday. LHP Vidal Nuno, who last pitched Thursday, seems likely to follow Andriese.
No Longo at Trop in 2019
The Rays will make their second ever visit to San Francisco but won't get a return visit from former All-Star 3B Evan Longoria's Giants, per an early tentative draft of the 2019 schedule circulating among baseball officials. The Rays also will visit the Padres, play home-and-home series with the Dodgers and Marlins, and host the Rockies and D'backs. The Rays would open at home March 28 vs. the Astros and finish at Toronto on Sept. 29. Also of note is a home Friday off, Aug. 2, before facing the Marlins. The finalized schedule will be released in September.
Chris Archer, opener?
RHP Chris Archer was "highly encouraged" by how "great" he felt the morning after throwing off a mound for the first time in nearly two weeks, and said if all continues to go well in recovery from an abdominal strain he could build back arm strength, in likely a couple rehab starts, to rejoin the rotation in "early" July.
But Cash suggested another scenario to get Archer back earlier if he is healthy but not built up to 100 pitches, working just the first inning or two, as the Rays have been doing with RHP Ryne Stanek. "Maybe we'll do an opener for Arch to get some work for him if he's short,'' Cash said.
Before any plan can be set, Archer, who last pitched June 2, has to throw another bullpen session Monday and likely a simulated game by the end of the week.
"It's still going to take a little bit of time,'' Archer said. "It really depends where my feel is as far as my pitches go and how my body feels.''
More medical: Chirinos, Faria
The Rays lost another starting pitching option as RHP Yonny Chirinos went back on the DL at Triple-A Durham with a shoulder impingement. Chirinos opened the season with the Rays and pitched in six games, then missed a month with a forearm strain. He was activated, sent to Durham and made three appearances before being shut down again. "I don't think it's anything new,'' Cash said. "Probably more recurring. Just let it take some time.'' … The Rays have lost prospects RHP Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon and Anthony Banda for the season due to Tommy John surgery, plus RHP Jose Mujica (forearm strain) and Chirinos for extended periods. … RHP Jake Faria, sidelined a month with an oblique strain, threw his first bullpen session Saturday but may be out until August.
Well, that's one way to do it …
The Rays found one solution to their over-crowded infield, moving Joey Wendle to the outfield for the first time ever, amateur or pro. Wendle had been working the last few days with coach Rocco Baldelli and Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier and he felt excited and ready for the challenge. He really wasn't tested, catching the only fly ball hit to him. Cash said he will be back out there soon, and INF Daniel Robertson will get an similar opportunity.
• CF Kevin Kiermaier singled in his first at-bat, snapping an 0-for-13 since coming off the DL Tuesday.
• The Rays drew 27,252 Friday and 29,831 Saturday, their two largest crowd since opening day. Though there were many rooting for the Yankees, Cash said "the fans, my gosh, the support that we've gotten has been outstanding.''
• OF Rob Refsnyder will stay in the Rays organization after clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A Durham. He was designated for assignment Tuesday.
• 3B Adrian Rondon, the 2014 $2.95 million bonus baby, was demoted to short-season Hudson Valley after hitting .170 with 18 errors in 47 games to start his second season at Class A Bowling Green.