Rays improve farm system as they prepare for Tigers

DETROIT — Tampa Bay bolstered its farm system Tuesday prior to dropping a 2-1 decision to Detroit.

The Rays received a pair of minor league pitchers from the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete the three-team deal that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona on Feb. 20.

Right-handed start Sam McWilliams and lefty reliever Colin Poche were the players to be named later that Arizona delivered to Tampa Bay.

McWilliams, 22, was 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA and 32 strikeouts in five starts for high Class A Visalia. He ranked third in the California League in strikeouts with a career-high 12 in his last start.

“Big, tall kid, a lot of leverage,” Tampa Bay skipper Kevin Cash said. “I think we’re excited about both of them.”

The 24-year-old Poche hadn’t allowed a run in 11 innings across nine appearances this season with Double-A Jacksonville.

“We gave up a really good player in Steven Souza, but we do like, between Anthony Banda, Nick Solak, and now these two guys,” Cash said. “We feel fortunate we’re able to bring all of them into our system and kind of continue to stockpile a pretty good core group that we think we have.”

McWilliams will be assigned to Class A Advanced Charlotte, while Poche will join Solak at Double-A Montgomery.

The banged up Tigers hope slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera can start Wednesday afternoon after missing two games with a left biceps spasm.

He tried to talk his way into the lineup since he was 7-for-18 against Rays’ Tuesday starter right-hander Chris Archer.

“He actually wanted to go down to the cage and take a few swings, which is a good sign for us,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think there’s an ulterior motive there.”

Cabrera shrugged it off.

“I just want to play,” he said.

Right-hander Blake Snell (4-1, 2,52 ERA) starts Wednesday afternoon for Tampa Bay against Detroit right-hander Michael Fulmer (1-2, 2.76).

Fulmer faced Tampa Bay twice last year and was 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA. For his career, Fulmer is 2-2 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts against the Rays.

He allowed no runs on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk over six innings in his last start on Thursday, but Pittsburgh won that game 1-0.

Snell did not face Detroit last season and is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his only start against the Tigers, which came in 2016.

He has won each of his last four starts this season, and yielded no more than two runs in any game in that span. In his most recent start on Friday, Snell allowed five hits and two runs while striking out nine with one walk over 7 1/3 innings in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.

Tampa Bay also announced prior to Tuesday’s loss that right-hander Yonny Chirinos was being placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday due to a right forearm strain.

Right-hander Ryan Yarbrough, just sent down earlier in the week, was recalled from Triple-A Durham.

“He’s on the DL, but we’ve got to protect that kid,” Cash said of Chirinos. “He’s a big part of our season right now, going forward. When he complains, or any of them complain of something, we’re going to be overcautious and get them checked out.”