Tsutsugo is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Yankees, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. With a southpaw (Jordan Montgomery) on the mound for the opposition, the lefty-hitting Tsutsugo will take a seat after three consecutive starts. Yandy Diaz replaces Tsutsugo in the series finale as the Rays' leadoff man.
Tsutsugo went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Wednesday's loss against the Red Sox. Tsutsugo has endured a rough start to the season, and while he has recorded hits in back-to-back games, he has gone just 2-for-17 to begin his big-league career. He hit .318 (7-for-22) with two extra-base hits during spring training, but he hasn't been able to replicate those numbers during the first week of the regular season. It's still early, but he needs to bounce back quickly to avoid losing playing time.
Tsutsugo is not in Tuesday's lineup against the Red Sox, Neil Solondz of the Rays Radio Network reports. It's only been four games, but Tsutsugo is 1-for-13 with zero extra-base hits so far this season on the heels of a disappointing first year with Tampa Bay. Francisco Mejia will start at designated hitter and bat seventh with lefty Martin Perez on the hill for Boston.
Tsutsugo will sit Saturday against Miami. Tsutsugo started the first two games of the season at first base, going 0-for-6 with two walks and two strikeouts. Yandy Diaz shifts to first base Saturday, with Joey Wendle starting at third.
Tsutsugo hit .318 (7-for-22) with a double, a solo home run, two walks and four runs over his nine Grapefruit League games, and he'll be counted on to fill in frequently at first base during Ji-Man Choi's (knee) absence, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Choi is slated for arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and will be out multiple weeks, so Tsutsugo -- who's already seen a sizeable share of reps at first base this spring -- is likely to be the primary option there against right-handed pitching. The Rays have been pleased with Tsutsugo's development defensively, and manager Kevin Cash noted that the Japanese slugger has been timing up high-velocity fastballs better than last season. "You try not to get too consumed with spring training results, but there are some guys that you do want to see the intent to be there, to work on some of whatever feedback or corrections that they are trying to accomplish from last year to this year," Cash said. "And it looks like Yoshi has done that. He seems very comfortable."
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