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Rays’ Joey Wendle sustains fractured right wrist

The rough start to 2019 continues for the fourth-place finisher in 2018 AL Rookie of the Year voting.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rays utility player Joey Wendle is expected to miss significant time after suffering a fractured right wrist in Wednesday afternoon’s loss to the Royals. Wendle sustained the injury after being hit by a Jake Diekman pitch in the sixth inning, and the team announced the unfortunate news before the end of the game:

Wendle, 28, appeared to be one of those trademark Rays projects that turned into a success following his acquisition from the A’s in December of 2017. He finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting last year, posting a 4.3 bWAR while playing five positions — but mostly second base, where he started 74 games — and hitting .300/.354/.435 with seven homers and 16 steals. Wendle has failed to achieve that same level of success early on in the 2019 campaign, though; he has a .136/.240/.182 slash line with just one extra-base hit (a double) through his first 25 plate appearances. This will be the second time he’s been on the injured list this year — he missed three weeks after straining his left hamstring during the second series of the season.

Fortunately for the Rays, the organization is absolutely stacked in the middle infield. In addition to Willy Adames, Brandon Lowe, and Daniel Robertson, all of whom are healthy and already on the major-league roster, Tampa has an impressive stash of young middle infielders waiting at Triple-A Durham: former Giants first-rounder Christian Arroyo, who already has 58 games of major-league experience (but has primarily been limited to third base since joining the Rays organization); No. 12 prospect Nick Solak, a former second-rounder of the Yankees; Tampa’s 2013 fourth-round pick, Kean Wong (brother of Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong), who is in his third year at Durham and had a strong season in 2018; and fast-rising former undrafted free agent Michael Brosseau, who has a 1.053 OPS in 65 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Seeing as he’s already on the 40-man roster, Arroyo seems to have the best shot at being promoted to fill the spot that will be vacated by Wendle.