Rays’ Wander Franco pulled off rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays shortstop Wander Franco was pulled off his rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham after continued soreness in his right hand while swinging. He will continue receiving treatment in St. Petersburg.

“He was here (Sunday),” manager Kevin Cash said after the Rays’ 3-2 win over the Royals. “He came in. Everybody was encouraged the way that he looked, and we’ll just continue to take it day to day.”

Franco has not played for the Rays since July 9 against the Reds. He exited that game after one at-bat — a swing caused the injury — and had surgery three days later to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand.

The initial diagnosis positioned Franco with a timetable of 5-8 weeks for his return, but soreness forced him to leave his first rehab game Tuesday with Durham earlier than expected.

Cash said last week that Franco was “just a little bit sore” but didn’t anticipate any long-term absence. Durham manager Brady Williams said during a pregame show that Franco had “one grimacing swing” Tuesday followed by a final swing that “kind of sent him over the top.” A “minor setback” also happened Wednesday, Williams said on the radio show.

On June 26, Franco had just returned to the Rays from a right quad strain that had sidelined him since the end of May. In 13 games between the two injuries, Franco had 11 hits. The 21-year-old is hitting .260 in 58 games this season.

Ji-Man Choi ‘slowly getting back to where I was before’

Ji-Man Choi didn’t play Sunday for a second consecutive game. The first baseman/DH said pregame that he’s “slowly getting back to where I was before” his current slump. Since the All-Star break, Choi has only nine hits in 75 at-bats.

“Obviously, my goal is always to help my teammates, and I felt that I was rushing my (at-bats),” Choi said via team interpreter Daniel Park. “So obviously it’s a disappointment that I wasn’t able to help my teammates, but I’m trying my best again to get back.”

Choi said he noticed while watching video that his body has been leaning forward more than usual during at-bats. He has tried to fix that by spending time talking with coaches and practicing in the batting cage, he said.

Jeffrey Springs feels good as innings rise

A self-described “hard-headed” individual, Jeffrey Springs knows he would rarely like to exit games, monitor pitch counts or worry about innings limits. He wants to pitch deep into outings, accumulating as many innings as possible.

But the Rays and their staff help Springs look at the “bigger picture,” even if it means monitoring innings, he said. He has thrown 89⅓ innings this season, doubling his previous career-high of 44⅔. Springs threw 112⅓ innings in 2017 when he was a starter (part of the year) in the minors

Springs also dealt with a right knee injury last year, which he said is also important to take into account.

“I know it’s going to pay off in the long run the next couple years,” he said.

Springs is set to start Monday’s series opener against the Angels, a team he faced earlier this season. He took the loss May 9 after allowing three runs on three hits.

“We’ll attack them carefully, so to speak, but nothing too much changes,” Springs said. “It’s going to be go right at them and try to get them out in three pitches or less.”


Tropicana Field remains one of five ballparks where Royals starter Zack Greinke hasn’t recorded a win across his 19-year major-league career. He finished with a no-decision Sunday, making him 0-4 in seven career appearances (six starts) at the Trop. … Assistant hitting coach Dan DeMent took over coaching first base after the first inning because Chris Prieto had a headache and “wasn’t feeling that good,” Cash said. … Reliever Jimmy Yacabonis accepted an outright assignment to Durham after clearing waivers.

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