ST. PETERSBURG -- Wil Myers is back.
The Rays activated the reigning American League Rookie of the Year from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday afternoon. Corresponding moves saw the Rays option Vince Belnome back to Triple-A Durham while moving Jerry Sands from the 15-day DL to the 60-day.
Myers, who went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter in Wednesday night's 6-0 loss to the Tigers at Tropicana Field, had missed the previous 70 games since he was placed on the DL on June 1, retroactive to May 31, with a right wrist fracture incurred during an outfield collision with center fielder Desmond Jennings on May 30 at Fenway Park.
Rays manager Joe Maddon has been telling reporters that Myers would let him know when he was ready. That time came in the aftermath of Tuesday night's game that Myers played for Durham, when he went 0-for-3 with a walk for the Bulls. How did he know he was ready?
"I think it was more a from a physical standpoint," Myers said. "My wrist feels great, either one of them. My legs feel great. My confidence is back, which I think is the most important thing. Going forward for me, that's what I really have to rely on."
In seven games while on a rehab assignment with the Bulls, Myers hit .250 with two home runs, six RBIs, seven walks and three stolen bases. Myers has played in 53 games for the Rays this season, hitting .227 with five home runs and 25 RBIs. Given the troubles the Rays have had on offense this season, Myers was asked if he saw his return for the team's final 37 games as an opportunity to make things right.
"You know what was funny, obviously, I was having a very disappointing season," Myers said. "It really feels like 2011 and 2012 all over again, having a bad 2011 and coming back in 2012 to prove to everybody that that was a fluke. ... So that's really how it feels coming into this again.
"...I don't necessarily see it as a makeup. I think it's more me going out and proving to myself what I can do. And proving to everybody that kind of doubted what I can do, just showing that the first two months was a fluke."
Maddon was asked if Myers could salvage his season.
"Yeah, and he can help us salvage ours at the same time," Maddon said. "Salvage-rescue operation. Getting back in the lineup hopefully will pick up the run production a little bit. Whenever he's confident, that can happen. He sounds confident right now."
Not only did Myers have a right wrist fracture, he also had an inflamed left wrist. Now both feel fine and, perhaps most important, he feels like he's rediscovered his mojo.
"I didn't really find what was missing," Myers said. "I just found myself again at the plate and just found the confidence level that I was looking for. As far as being in the box right now, I feel very confident in there. The timing can always get better -- I'm behind some pitches, even yesterday. But it's one of those things that when you get here, you have to be ready to go and make things happen at the big league level.
"...The home runs I hit in Durham, the power is back. Even the ball hit out to center I didn't get all the way and it still went out to center. Even my BP's are better. The ball has more lift and more backspin, which is what I like."
Maddon allowed that Myers feels more comfortable at the plate right now than in the outfield, which is why he'll initially be used as the DH. After that, it's likely he'll find a spot in left field due to the emergence of Kevin Kiermaier, whose defense in right field has been superlative.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less