Duffy progresses to taking grounders at short

Duffy progresses to taking grounders at short

ST. PETERSBURG -- Perhaps there's a light at the end of the tunnel for Matt Duffy.

The Rays shortstop, who has not made his way onto the Major League diamond this year, took ground balls at shortstop Monday, which manager Kevin Cash called, "a good sign."

"He looked the part. Didn't see any restrictions," Cash said. "It's never too late. We want him to feel good, especially heading into his offseason. He's had a very, very long, frustrating season here not playing, so maybe today was a step in the right direction."

Duffy underwent surgery on his left heel last September and experienced complications this summer. He fouled a ball off his foot in a batting-practice session during his initial rehab stint, and aside from that, a pain lingered in his left heel. He underwent Achilles surgery in June to correct that problem.

With most Minor League regular seasons wrapping up soon, there will not be many opportunities left for Duffy to play in rehab games. He could return to the Rays in late September, but the team does not expect him to play a significant role this year if he can return, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Notes
• The Rays selected Trevor Plouffe from Triple-A Durham and designated reliever Adam Kolarek for assignment. Plouffe had been designated for assignment Aug. 22 and played seven games with Durham since, batting 5-for-22 with five walks. He hit .178 in 31 games for the Rays this year, and .204 in 89 total games between Tampa Bay and Oakland heading into play Monday night.

• Leading up to the first game of the series with the Twins, who currently hold the second American League Wild Card spot, Cash was asked how many games he expects the Rays would need to win the rest of the year to make the playoffs.

"How many games do we have left?" Cash asked, before being informed 24 games remain. "We need to win 24 of them. We win 24, we'll get in. I'll guarantee it."

Connor Mount 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.