Rays promote 1B Nate Lowe from Triple-A Durham, option IF Christian Arroyo

Nate Lowe was batting .300 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 21 games at Durham.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Rays promoted first baseman Nate Lowe from Triple-A Durham before their series opener against the Royals, giving one of their top prospects a shot Monday night amid a wave of injuries.

Lowe was batting fifth as the designated hitter in his big league debut. Rays manager Kevin Cash said the 23-year-old slugger would likely be at first base on Tuesday night.

“There was a lot to like with what he did last year. He was really, really impressive at three levels,” Cash said. “He can hit the ball a long, but he can also hit well.”

Lowe was the Rays’ minor league player of the year last season, hitting a combined .330 with 27 homers and 102 RBIs at Class A Charlotte, Double-A Montgomery and Durham. He scorched spring training and was hitting .300 with three homers and 21 RBIs for Durham this season.

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The AL East-leading Rays, who began the night with the best record in the majors, promoted Lowe in part because infielder Joey Wendle is out with a fractured right wrist and outfielder Austin Meadows is sidelined by a sprained right thumb. Both of them are left-handed hitters, and their injuries leave a significant void in a lineup that tends to fluctuate based on matchups.

“That’s a big part of it,” Cash said. “We rely so much on matchups and having those advantages. It made the most sense for Nate to come up and fill that void a little bit.

“We know we’ll have some decisions to make when those other guys get healthy,” Cash added. “In the meantime, we want to see him get off to a great start.”

The Rays cleared roster space for Lowe by optioning infielder Christian Arroyo to Durham. The club also designated right-hander Andrew Moore for assignment.

The Rays have been forced to make 13 roster moves in the past 11 days.

“We talked a lot in spring training about organizational depth. We felt we had a lot of it,” Cash said. “Now it’s going to get tested because of all these injuries.”