Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Joel Peralta could return to Rays' bullpen next week

ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon received good news Friday in his quest to pluck midseason acquisitions from the Rays' disabled list.

RHP Joel Peralta could be back in the bullpen early next week after recovering from an unknown illness he contracted during a visit home to the Dominican Republic over the All-Star break.

Peralta initially believed he had the mosquito-transmitted chikungunya virus, but he said tests didn't show any reason for his high fever and joint pain. Peralta said he began feeling better Tuesday.

The Rays announced after the game he will make a rehab appearance in Dunedin for Class A Charlotte today.

"I need to face some batters," Peralta said.

Meanwhile, RF Wil Myers took the latest step in his recovery, hitting off a tee for the first time since sustaining a stress fracture in his right wrist May 30. His next step will be hitting pitches thrown by coaches. Though he said his wrist is still a little sore, a mid August return remains likely.

"Pretty anxious," Myers said. "Ready to get on my rehab assignment and get going."

C Ryan Hanigan (strained oblique) completed defensive drills and ran the bases before Friday's game against the Red Sox. Maddon said Hanigan is close to returning but there was no timetable.

HELLICKSON'S RETURN (AGAIN): RHP Jeremy Hellickson was scheduled to make his second return to the Rays with today's start, and Maddon didn't plan on keeping him on a short leash.

"He's ready to rock 'n' roll fully," Mad­don said.

Hellickson had offseason elbow surgery and made his season debut July 8 against Kansas City. He gave up six hits and one run over 41/3 innings.

The Rays optioned him to the minors after that to keep him working during the All-Star break. Over one start for Double-A Montgomery and one for Class A Charlotte, Hellickson struck out 15 and allowed three earned runs in 11 innings.

Hellickson said it was hard to watch the Rays' hot stretch but the extra work was beneficial. He was able to continue to work on finding his proper arm slot and his fastball command.

"I wanted to go down there and work on my command a little bit," Hellickson said. "And I think I accomplished that. I felt good last game; feeling good now."

The Rays have to make a roster move to accommodate Hellickson.

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: INF Jerry Sands said everything went well during Tuesday's season-ending surgery for a torn sheath in his left wrist. He'll keep the arm wrapped for two weeks before beginning a rehab process that could last four months.

Meanwhile, RHP Alex Cobb said his right elbow still felt fine Friday, two days after getting hit by a pitch in a win over St. Louis.

Homer unhappy: Shane Victorino's solo shot for Boston during the second inning Friday was the 20th home run allowed by LHP David Price this season. Only once has he allowed more: 22 in 2011. He allowed 16 in 2012 and 2013. Victorino's homer also snapped Price's 17-inning scoreless streak, his longest since August 2012.

MISCELLANY: Claudia Williams will sign copies of her book, Ted Williams, My Father, from 5-7 p.m. today near Gate 1 and the entrance to the Ted Williams Museum. Proceeds benefit the Tampa VA's adaptive sports programs. … Sun Sports will debut a 30-minute tribute show for the late Don Zimmer after Sunday's game. … LHP Jake McGee earned his 10th save.

Times staff writer Jacob Lynn contributed to this report.

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