Wilson Ramos (recovery from torn ACL), Brad Miller (left abdomen strain), and Matt Duffy (recovery from Achilles surgery), all participated in baseball activities at Tropicana Field on Tuesday. Additionally, Tommy Hunter made his first, and possibly only, rehab appearance with the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Donning his catching gear, Ramos threw to the bases, caught a bullpen session, and took blocking drills — all significant milestones since undergoing the knife last October. He also took batting practice for the second time this week, reportedly peppering the outfield with line drives.
I’m really happy for all I did today, Ramos told reporters. I’m getting closer. That’s what I need to do. All those little things help me to stay strong and ready to do something else.
Getting closer to his debut with the Rays, Ramos will likely head to Port Charlotte to take part in extended spring training games this weekend, before moving into his rehab assignment around May 28. With rehab limited to 20 days, and barring any setbacks, that should put him on the 25-man active roster by mid-to-late-June — well ahead of schedule.
(That would be) pretty good for me, good for the team, Ramos said. Now, I feel a lot better. I feel confident. I feel strong. That’s what I want; I want to be behind the plate as soon as possible.
It was originally thought that he would return as a designated hitter, however, the plan now is to prepare him to catch, although he won’t initially assume everyday duty.
Miller took grounders and hopes to be activated from the DL by Friday, the first day he’s eligible to return.
Miller is anxious to return, saying:
I don’t want to miss any more time than I have to.
However, standing in his way is the fact that he has yet to run. Because of it, Rays skipper Kevin Cash is less optimistic about Miller’s return:
I don’t see how he could be (ready to return), Cash said.
As for Duffy, the shortstop — who can’t seem to catch a break — took ground balls and and batting practice for the first time since he fouled a ball off his left foot in a previous batting practice session this past weekend. He told reporters that his Achilles felt much better, although his big toe is still irritated:
(The toe) Still bothers some things I’m doing, Duffy said. The fear is I do something, and compensate for the toe hurting. That’s one thing Ron (Porterfield) said he doesn’t mess with: big toe, little toe.
Duffy conceded that his situation is rather frustrating:
To say the least. In Spring Training it was really frustrating, because I was really fighting to get ready for Opening Day. … (Now) I can’t really control where I’m at in terms of wanting it to be quicker. … I don’t like being on the DL at all.
Finally, Hunter took the mound in Port Charlotte on Tuesday evening and threw one inning of two-run ball, allowing three hits while fanning three on 21 pitches. He said says his calf feels good, although there isn’t a definitive plan yet for Hunter to return to the fold.
— Bryan Levine (@Bryan_Levine) May 23, 2017