After chat with Miller, Duffy debuts for Rays

After chat with Miller, Duffy debuts for Rays

NEW YORK -- Matt Duffy has been activated from the disabled list, filling the spot on the Rays' roster vacated when Richie Shaffer was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay's new shortstop is ready to play for the club and said that he and Brad Miller are all in for the same cause.

Duffy came to the Rays from the Giants, along with two prospects, in the trade for left-hander Matt Moore. Duffy played shortstop throughout his Minor League career but manned third base for the Giants because they have Brandon Crawford at shortstop. Once the Rays acquired Duffy, they told Miller he would be moved from short to first base.

Miller has been vocal about the fact that he did not like the move. That hasn't kept him from continuing to be a professional. Duffy said he talked with Miller at Tropicana Field prior to going to Class A Advanced Charlotte and Triple-A Durham to finish his rehab from a strained left Achilles tendon.

"We've talked a little bit," Duffy said. "I think we're both on the same page. First and foremost, we're here to help the team win games. Whatever way the team sees fit, that's how we're going to do it.

"I think when you can get a whole group of guys on board with that, you've got a good chance to win a lot of ballgames. Looking at the guys in this room, there are a lot of good players. That was one of the first things we tried to do -- make sure there was nothing between him and I. So far, everyone's been very welcoming."

Duffy said Miller has been "very up front."

"Team first," Duffy said. "I admire and respect that."

In addition to making sure that his Achilles was ready to go, Duffy has been reacquainting himself with his old position. He made his Rays debut in Friday night's6-3 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, starting at shortstop and batting second. Duffy grounded into a 5-4-3 double play in his first at-bat with his new club, then blooped a single in the third inning before finishing 1-for-4.

"I've felt more and more comfortable the last two games [I've played]," Duffy said. "I don't know. I think it's going to take some time before I'm really as comfortable as I was at third -- some time and a lot of reps -- but I'm definitely happy with how I felt the few games I've had down there."

As for the Achilles ...

"[The Achilles] feels good," Duffy said. "Maybe a little sore after games and long innings. ... I don't see it being an issue going forward."

Rays manager Kevin Cash is eager to begin watching his new shortstop play on a daily basis.

"I don't really have any expectations for him other than to come in and do the things that he did for San Francisco, and that was help them win games on both sides of the ball," Cash said. "He's going to play short. He's going to be out there every day."

Cash elaborated by noting that the Rays will closely monitor Duffy's activity "since he's coming off an injury."

"But this is exciting," Cash said. "We're all very excited here the next two months to finally get to see the guy that we traded a really good player for. And we know that he's going to help us going forward for our future, [giving] us a better defense and adding to our offense."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.