Advertisement

Jonathan Aranda activated by Rays, Austin Shenton optioned to Durham

BOSTON — Jonathan Aranda earned a spot on the Rays’ major-league team after a solid start to spring training.

And one broken right ring finger, 12 rehab games at Triple-A Durham and eight long weeks later, the 25-year-old lefty-swinging infielder was activated Tuesday.

The Rays went into spring camp feeling that Aranda, despite an unimpressive showing in 66 big-league games over the 2022-23 seasons (hitting .212 with a .656 OPS), deserved an opportunity for regular at-bats this season. That was based on his performance in 2022-23 at Durham, where he hit .328 with 43 homers, 166 RBIs and an OPS close to four digits over 199 games, and furthered by his .371 average this spring.

“We’d like to see him build off that spring,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Johnny’s hit everywhere he’s been.”

Aranda said it was frustrating to be sidelined with the injury, but he tried to remain positive and patient. “You’ve just got to work through it, try not to think about it too much,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “Know this is part of the process and you can’t control some things that happen.”

Aranda is expected to play often against right-handed pitchers, getting at-bats at DH and filling in occasionally at first, second and third base.

To make room on the 26-man roster, the Rays optioned Austin Shenton to Triple A. Shenton was ticketed for Triple A until Aranda got hurt and saw only limited action in his first major-league stint, hitting .189 (7-for-37) with one homer, three RBIs and a .696 OPS in 17 games.

Rehab report: B-Lowe, Walls, Springs

The Rays got what Cash said was “good news” on Brandon Lowe, whose rehab assignment was paused after Sunday’s game when he felt some discomfort.

Lowe has been out since early April due to a right oblique strain. He was checked out in Nashville on Tuesday by Dr. Ryan Snowden, a spine surgeon he had seen previously. Cash said the report was that Lowe was healing, the imaging showed things “were heading in the right direction,” and it would be pretty much “play to tolerance.”

Lowe will go back to St. Petersburg to work back into swinging, Cash said, then shortly resume his rehab at Durham.

Also:

• Infielder Taylor Walls, sidelined since late October after right hip surgery, reported to Port Charlotte for a 10- to 14-day “spring training” session then will start on a rehab assignment.

• Lefty Jeffrey Springs, out since April 2023 Tommy John surgery, is slated to throw live batting practice in Port Charlotte on Wednesday, then make his first game appearance on May 20 for the Florida Complex League team. He will eventually head to Durham for a rehab assignment, with a rough goal of rejoining the Rays around the July All-Star break.

• Reliever Chris Devenski, out since late April with right knee tendinitis, also is slated to throw batting practice in Port Charlotte.

Another setback for McKay

Brendan McKay, seeking to pitch his way back to the majors for the first time since 2019 and after three arm surgeries, has had another setback.

After a solid spring and five appearances at Double-A Montgomery, McKay will miss at least three months due to a strain of the pronator and flexor muscles in the forearm and a sprain (also referred to as a tear) of the ulnar collateral ligament.

After having an MRI reviewed by specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, McKay was prescribed five to six weeks of rehab and no throwing, then to start building back up. The goal is have him resume full baseball activities in three months.

McKay, 28, made five appearances for the Biscuits, allowing two earned runs over 18 innings and striking out 17, capped by a five-inning outing April 30. He was then promoted to Durham, but reported soreness which led to the diagnosis.

• • •

Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.

Never miss out on the latest with your favorite Tampa Bay sports teams. Follow our coverage on Instagram, X and Facebook.