Rays confident ‘rock star’ Willy Adames’ bat will come alive

Willy Adames possesses an “it” factor that doesn’t mesh with his age and major league experience.

The 25-year-old Rays shortstop, who is completing his third season, has fast become a clubhouse presence whose demeanor is appreciated throughout the organization.

“It’s rare for a player his age, but once you get to know Willy his personality is pretty infectious,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said Thursday. “There’s just people who have those traits where people just kind of flock to them and Willy is at the top of the list in our clubhouse, in our organization.”

Missing from Adames’ otherwise solid résumé, which included a .259/.332/.481 slash line during the regular season, is postseason success. In 16 games this postseason he is slashing .136/.345/.205.

“Willy’s had a tough go offensively, but not for one second have you seen that change his mentality between innings or while we are hitting or on defense,” Cash said. “He’s been a rock star for us at shortstop and he’s going to get his bat going, too. But the personality on Willy is one of the many reasons that makes him so special.”

Willy Adames
Willy AdamesGetty Images

Austin Barnes is a consideration to start behind the plate for Game 3, according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, given the manner he handled Walker Buehler in Game 6 of the NLCS. If Barnes starts at catcher, Roberts said he would use Will Smith as the DH. Roberts has been unafraid this postseason to shift Smith behind the plate late in games he starts at DH. With that maneuver the Dodgers have lost the DH.

Roberts tabbed lefty Julio Urias as his Game 4 starter, but Cash wouldn’t commit to Ryan Yarbrough. If Yarbrough doesn’t start, the Rays will likely go with an opener.

“I know Yarbrough will have a chunk of that game,” Cash said.

“Whether he starts, whether we open, how aggressive we are, there’s a lot of factors. If Charlie [Morton] works deep in [Game 3], it sets us up for a lot of options.”

The Rays had a light turnout for their optional workout, with mostly pitchers playing catch and other players receiving treatment in the trainers’ room.

“We’ve played enough baseball,” Cash said. “The 12 games in 13 days, everybody is timed up.”

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