10:29pm: The Rays will activate Wendle on Friday and option Wood, Juan Toribio of MLB.com tweets.
2:56pm: Arroyo is actually headed to the 10-day injured list with tendinitis in his right forearm, the team announced. Hunter Wood is coming up from Triple-A to take Arroyo’s roster spot, so Wendle won’t yet be activated.
12:21pm: The Rays have optioned infielder Christian Arroyo to Triple-A Durham, and Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times writes that the move likely clears a path for the return of Joey Wendle, who has been out since late April due to a fractured wrist.
The broken wrist was Wendle’s second notable injury of the 2019 campaign, as he missed three weeks early in the year due to a hamstring strain. In all, the fourth-place finisher in last season’s American League Rookie of the Year voting has appeared in just eight games in 2019.
Wendle isn’t a household name, but his absence has been a significant one for Tampa Bay. He’s fresh off a strong .300/.354/.435 slash through 139 games a season ago, and Wendle’s versatile defensive skill set allows him to move around the diamond quite a bit. While he was the team’s primary second baseman in 2018, Wendle also saw time at third base, in the outfield corners and at shortstop. Wendle’s return will give skipper Kevin Cash a left-handed bat off what had been an all-right-handed bench; Arroyo had been joined there by Daniel Robertson, Guillermo Heredia and Travis d’Arnaud.
There may not be everyday at-bats for Wendle upon his return, given Brandon Lowe’s strong production at second base and the excellent play from corner outfielders Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham. But Wendle is hardly alone in his ability to move around the diamond, so Cash should be able to creatively deploy matchup-based combinations to get Wendle into the lineup.
As for Arroyo, he’ll head back to Durham — a setting where he has raked this season despite lackluster numbers in the minors. A key player acquired by the Rays in the trade that sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco, Arroyo has hit .314/.381/.603 with eight homers in 134 Triple-A plate appearances, but he’s managed just a .220/.204/.380 line in 57 big league trips to the plate. That’s been somewhat of a trend for Arroyo, who has consistently hit Triple-A pitching but has yet to find prolonged MLB success. Of course, he also hasn’t gotten much in the way of a long-term look since his debut with the Giants in 2017. This is Arroyo’s final option year, so the Rays will need to make a decision on him at some point in the not-too-distant future.