8/16/2014 1:16 A.M. ET
Myers heads Rays' trio nearing return to duty
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielders Wil Myers and David DeJesus, along with catcher Ryan Hanigan, are getting closer to returning to the field, manager Joe Maddon said on Friday.
"Moving forward, you're gonna get Wil back, you're gonna get Ryan back, you're gonna get DeJesus back," Maddon said. "So we've got some freshness going into September."
Maddon said that the eventual returns of Myers, DeJesus and Hanigan will affect the team's dynamic "only in a positive way."
Myers (right wrist fracture) is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Durham, where he is batting .444 (4-for-9) with a grand slam in three games with the Bulls. It's possible that he could return by the end of the Rays' current homestand, although Maddon said Myers would let the team know when he's ready.
"The biggest thing with him is getting more comfortable timing baseballs. He just needs to see more pitches, more at-bats," Maddon said. "The one thing about Wil, he's gonna be brutally honest with you about how he feels, and that's a good thing right now."
The Rays don't want Myers pushing to come back too soon, Maddon said. With the Rays' slim margin for error, that wouldn't help anyone.
"We don't need somebody coming back here, playing himself into playing shape right now ... so they go out there and take 15 at-bats and are lost," Maddon said. "We can't have that right now. We need to know when you come back that you feel like you can really contribute right now.
"There's no, 'Well, in a couple of weeks I'll be OK.' No. We've got to have it now. So it's important that he takes the time that he needs, and that when he feels like he's able to compete here and contribute, then he's ready to come back."
DeJesus (left hand fracture) will head to the Gulf Coast League on Saturday to begin his rehab process, then move on to Class A Advanced Charlotte on Monday.
"I'm heading down tomorrow to get some at-bats, and I see the end of the tunnel coming right now," DeJesus said Friday. "Start at DH tomorrow, and then it'll be DH, DH, day off, start playing the field. I think we're gonna go over that when the time comes. But tomorrow I'm DH-ing, so that's a start."
DeJesus was still at Tropicana Field on Friday, when he took batting practice before Tampa Bay's series opener against the Yankees. He and Maddon both said there is not yet a specific plan or timeline for his return.
The same goes for Hanigan, who has been dealing with a nagging left oblique strain. Maddon said the catcher was "feeling a lot better" Friday, but that he didn't have anything specific about his return timetable.
"We want to get him moving along right now, too," Maddon said. "Curt [Casali's] done a wonderful job. But Hanny's here for a reason, too, and when he's ready to go, he'll be back in there."
Rays option reliever Gomes to Triple-A Durham
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays made a roster move after Friday's 5-0 series-opening win against the Yankees at Tropicana Field, optioning reliever Brandon Gomes to Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay will make a corresponding move before Saturday's game.
Gomes was recalled Wednesday because the team needed extra bullpen depth after Tuesday's 14-inning loss to the Rangers. The right-hander pitched the final two innings of the Rays' 10-1 blowout win Wednesday.
Gomes is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 appearances for the big league club this season.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Friday night's game that the team expected a position player to be called up to take Gomes' place on Saturday.
Kiermaier set to receive Heart and Hustle Award
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays right fielder Kevin Kiermaier will receive the team's 2014 Heart and Hustle Award in a presentation before Saturday's game against the Yankees at Tropicana Field.
"It's nice getting a little bit of recognition for how I've played this year, and it's how I've played my whole life," Kiermaier said. "It's really cool, and I feel very honored to be a recipient for our team."
One player from each of the 30 Major League franchises is chosen as the team's award winner by a committee of alumni players who have close relationships with the ballclub formed by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA).
Kiermaier -- nicknamed "Outlaw" for the abandon with which he plays -- has helped spark the Rays on their successful run in the past few months with his all-out effort, diving plays in the field and hustle on the basepaths.
"It's just how I play," Kiermaier said. "If you come watch Kevin Kiermaier play, you know that he's gonna play 100 percent every day. You may not have the best results, but I control my effort level, and that's something I take pride in."
Heading into Friday's action, Kiermaier was batting .270 with nine home runs, 29 RBIs and five steals in 72 games this season. He was also third on the team in WAR (3.1) in 2014, despite having played about 40 fewer games than Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings, the two Rays ahead of him, and he was first in defensive WAR (1.4).
• Center fielder Desmond Jennings -- who sat out the Rays' last two games in Texas with a sore left shoulder, sustained when he ran into the wall making a catch Tuesday night -- was back in the starting lineup Friday as expected.
• Maddon said he has been nominated for the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" by multiple people, but he will be donating money in lieu of pouring ice water on his head. Reliever Grant Balfour did douse himself with ice water in Texas during the team's recent road trip.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.