Rays' Forsythe back after brief Minors rehab stint

Rays' Forsythe back after brief Minors rehab stint

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Kevin Cash certainly didn't expect to have his leadoff hitter and starting second baseman Logan Forsythe back in the lineup on Friday. Forsythe had only played two games with Triple-A Durham during his rehab stint from a shoulder fracture.

But he insisted after hitting a home run on Thursday night that he'd be good to start in the Rays' return to Tropicana Field.

"I don't think it was anticipated that he was going to be back this soon," Cash said. "He deems himself ready. He hit a home run last night, so we would agree. We're happy to have him back."

Forsythe batted. 308 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 29 games this season before landing on disabled list, and he was back atop the batting order when Tampa Bay hosted the Astros on Friday evening. Nick Franklin, who had two walks in three plate appearances with the Rays, was optioned back to Durham.

Forsythe was able to rehab at Tropicana Field earlier in the week with a combination of prospective draft picks and some Charlotte Stone Crabs pitchers -- the Rays' Class A Florida State League affiliate. He got six at-bats in a simulated game before going to the Bulls.

"I wasn't trying to do too much," Forsythe said. "The timing came back pretty quick. Just trying to stay with it, stay simple right now … I just feel like it's a good time to get back and get rolling. Get back with the guys, try to get a consistent lineup going again."

The Rays have been decimated by injuries to their starting lineup. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is out with a fractured hand. Another outfielder, Brandon Guyer, is also on the DL with a hamstring strain.

Forsythe's return is just a step back to full strength, but he fills a noticeable hole in the Rays' lineup.

"He's huge, important," Cash said. "I don't know how you would describe it more. We missed him."

Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.