KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Rays promoted first baseman Nate Lowe from Triple-A Durham before their series opener against the Royals, giving one of their top prospects a shot Monday night amid a wave of injuries.
Lowe was batting fifth as the designated hitter in his big league debut. Rays manager Kevin Cash said the 23-year-old slugger would likely play first base Tuesday night.
"There was a lot to like with what he did last year. He was really, really impressive at three levels," Cash said. "He can hit the ball a long, but he can also hit well."
Lowe was the Rays' minor league player of the year last season, hitting a combined .330 with 27 home runs and 102 RBIs at Class A Charlotte, Double-A Montgomery and Durham. He scorched spring training and was hitting .300 with three homers and 21 RBIs for Durham this season.
The American League East-leading Rays, who began the night with the best record in the majors, promoted Lowe in part because infielder Joey Wendle is out with a fractured right wrist and outfielder Austin Meadows is sidelined by a sprained right thumb. Both of them are left-handed hitters, like Lowe, and their injuries leave a significant void in a lineup that tends to fluctuate based on matchups.
"That's a big part of it," Cash said. "We rely so much on matchups and having those advantages. It made the most sense for Nate to come up and fill that void a little bit.
"We know we'll have some decisions to make when those other guys get healthy," Cash added. "In the meantime, we want to see him get off to a great start."
The Rays cleared roster space for Lowe by optioning infielder Christian Arroyo to Durham. The club also designated right-hander Andrew Moore for assignment.
The Rays have been forced to make 13 roster moves in the past 11 days.
"We talked a lot in spring training about organizational depth. We felt we had a lot of it," Cash said. "Now it's going to get tested because of all these injuries."