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Austin Shenton Makes Quality Contact



When the Rays made the difficult and somewhat unpopular decision to trade Diego Castillo, their longest-tenured reliever, to the Mariners in July for the less proven reliever JT Chargois, they got a bit of an equalizer in the deal.

Third baseman Austin Shenton.

The 2019 fifth-round pick from Florida International had a solid pro debut with the Mariners and had recently been promoted from High-A Everett to Double-A Arkansas at the time of the trade.

“(He’s) somebody who we've tracked in their system based on the results, but I’d say (our interest) picked up some this year based on what we've seen across two levels.’’ Rays general manager Erik Neander said.

“He has really hit. Some feel for contact. Some feel for power. And (we) think it's a bat, especially as a lefthanded-hitting infielder, that’s got a pretty good chance to be a big league contributor—and not terribly far off from doing that.

“For us it was worth acquiring Shenton for the difference in track record between two (relievers).’’

The 23-year-old Shenton has hit well, with a .296 average and .924 OPS through his first 516 pro at-bats. Through 80 games this season he had hit .295/.398/.549 with 14 home runs, 32 doubles and 47 walks. He compiled a 1.126 OPS in June and July that ranked third in the minors in that span.

Shenton was sidelined in late August with a thumb injury.

“Our initial impressions of Austin have been very positive,’’ Rays vice president Carlos Rodriquez said. “He gives a professional at-bat and has shown good quality of contact in the short time that he’s been a Ray. He’s a handsy hitter who creates a lot of whip from the left side, and he’s shown us game power to all fields.

“Defensively, he makes routine plays and accurate throws from third base, with the ability to play first. He also had time at second base and corner outfield when he was in Seattle’s organization, so there’s an element of defensive versatility that adds value to the profile.’’

COOL RAYS

— Righthander Chris Ellis made his first big league appearance since March 2019, and second ever, on Aug. 17, working the final four innings for his first win. He was then designated for assignment the next day.

— Corner infielder Kevin Padlo, a once-promising prospect who struggled in the majors (1-for-12 in nine games) and at Triple-A (.194, 12 homers) this year, was claimed by Seattle after being DFA'd on Aug. 17

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