ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Help is on the way, or at least the Tampa Bay Rays hope so following Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The Rays called up outfielder Wil Myers, rated by Baseball America before the season as its No. 1 overall prospect, best power hitter and best hitter for average.
“We felt like now was the right time,” said Andrew Friedman, the Rays’ executive vice-president of baseball operations. “He made some real adjustments in the last six weeks and that really stood out to us. It was something we were monitoring very closely.”
The 22-year-old Myers was acquired from the Royals on Dec. 9 in a seven-player trade that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City. Davis was the winning pitcher in Sunday’s game after giving up two runs on five hits in six innings.
After hitting .286 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs in 64 games at Triple-A Durham, Myers will start at least one of two games at Boston on Tuesday, manager Joe Maddon said.
“He’s going to play in the outfield and we’ll probably hit him lower in the batting order to begin, just to take a little pressure off of him,” Maddon said. “We’ll try not to place the expectations too high, although I know it’s going to come from outside, not from within. He’s another one of our players. I’m going to try to ease him into the whole thing.”
The Rays concluded a 4-6 homestand while the Royals won for the 10th time in their last 12 games.
Davis (4-5) stopped his five-game winless streak, winning for the first time since May 15 in his first start against his former team. The right-hander survived a two-run, 35-pitch first inning by getting Jose Molina on a fly ball with the bases loaded, then gave up only two more hits, retiring the last nine Rays he faced.
“Today was just a matter of taking a deep breath and keeping the ball down, getting some quick outs,” Davis said. “I was a little jumpy (in the first inning).”
Jeff Francoeur hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, and Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon had RBI singles to put the Royals ahead 4-2 in the sixth.
Greg Holland earned his 14th save despite allowing a homer to Jose Lobaton in the ninth.
Roberto Hernandez (4-7) allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Rays announced during the game that right-hander Alex Cobb, who was hit on the right ear by a liner off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning Saturday night, had been discharged from Bayfront Medical Center.
Tests showed Cobb has a mild concussion. He was put on the seven-day concussion list, and Tampa Bay recalled right-hander Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham.
In a message posted on his Twitter account, Cobb thanked Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and the doctors at Bayfront, and said that he “Woke up with only a minor headache today.”
There was a loud cheer from the crowd of 27,442 at Tropicana Field when the news about Cobb was posted on the scoreboard after the top of the sixth.
Myers will probably make his home debut in the final week of June after the Rays play seven games at Boston and New York.
“It’s something that we’ve been deliberating for a while, and his recent hot streak certainly accelerated the conversations,” Friedman said of the move. “As we talked about since spring training, when we felt like he was ready it would be important to auger a spot for him.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay LHP David Price (strained left triceps) isn’t ready to start a minor league rehab assignment and will have another bullpen session Tuesday. … The Royals flew in 21 fathers and two sons of team personnel to be together for Father’s Day. “I’ve never heard of anybody doing this before so I think it’s a special treat for everybody,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. … Rays 3B Evan Longoria (right foot) was the DH for the fourth consecutive game. … Kansas City LHP Danny Duffy (elbow ligament replacement surgery) made his second rehab start Saturday night for Triple-A Omaha. He gave up two runs, four hits and three walks in three innings.