ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Outfielder Wil Myers was out of the lineup Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins, a move made to keep the rookie fresh, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Myers has hit .247 (21 for 85) with three home runs and 13 RBI in 21 games since making his debut in the majors June 18 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Maddon said he considered giving Myers a day off Thursday against Minnesota at Tropicana Field, but he anticipated Myers faring better against that day’s starter (right-hander Mike Pelfrey) than right-hander Kyle Gibson, the Twins’ starter Tuesday.
Maddon also said he wanted to find a spot to use infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson, slotted to bat seventh and play left field Tuesday.
“I’m not worried about Wil at all,” Maddon said.
“It’s just a matter of getting everybody involved, keeping everybody fresh. I don’t care what their birth certificate says. I was just trying to figure out the best day for him, so I did a little research on it today and decided to go with tonight off.”
Myers has cooled recently. He has hit .161 (5 for 31) in his past eight games, compared to .296 (16 for 54) in his first 13 contests since being promoted from Triple-A Durham.
On Tuesday afternoon, he worked with hitting coach Derek Shelton in early batting practice. Myers said he discovered a slight flaw in his swing of late — it “cut a little long,” he said — so he hoped the extra work would fix the problem.
“I’ve got some really good pitches to hit, some pitches out over the plate,” Myers said. “I just haven’t been able to connect on them right now. It’s just a little flaw in the swing. I’m working on it today, and hopefully I will come out of it soon. … I feel really close. That’s why it’s kind of frustrating. I’m just a tick off. It’s just one of those things. That’s how baseball is.”