Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

McGee off disabled list, returns to Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG — After the steady parade of players to the DL, the Rays were due for some good injury news.

They got it Thursday, reinstating LHP Jake McGee (offseason elbow surgery) from the DL after the game.

McGee's return will be a boost for a bullpen that's been one of the Rays' strengths. McGee is coming off of a career season after recording 19 saves and posting a bullpen-leading 1.89 ERA in 71 1/3 innings. Only one lefty reliever had more strikeouts than McGee (90).

Manager Kevin Cash said the Rays will monitor McGee as he works his way back and that he might not automatically become the closer.

"I don't anticipate anybody assuming any role," Cash said.

RHP Brad Boxberger has starred at the back of the bullpen in McGee's absence. On Wednesday, he converted his 10th save in 10 chances — the longest season-opening stretch without a blown save by a Rays reliever since Fernando Rodney started 15-for-15 in 2011.

Boxberger is one of only five pitchers in the AL who's saved at least 10 games without blowing one and said he hasn't yet heard how his role will change with McGee back in the bullpen.

"I'm comfortable there right now," Boxberger said of closing games. "I feel like I've done a pretty good job there right now. But with McGee coming back and everything he's done, it'll just be a matter of what they want to do."

To make room for McGee, the Rays optioned RHP Matt Andriese back to Triple-A Durham. Andriese allowed only one run in his four innings Thursday, becoming the first Ray to earn a pair of at least three-inning saves in one season since Lance Carter did so in 2002.

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb (elbow) had successful Tommy John surgery performed in Pensacola on Thursday by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews. "Everything that I've heard is it went really well," Cash said, "and now the rehab process starts." Cobb will miss the rest of the season and hopes to pitch again in September 2016. He is scheduled to get back in town today. … LHP Drew Smyly (torn labrum) visited Dr. Keith Meister in Texas for another opinion on his throwing shoulder. The team said he is still weighing his options, which include season-ending surgery. … LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and pitch a simulated game Monday in Port Charlotte. … 2B Nick Franklin continued his rehab assignment Thursday for Triple-A Durham. He finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a fielding error.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: SS Asdrubal Cabrera entered spring training with questions about whether his range had diminished.

"I have not seen that at all," Cash said.

Cabrera has been one of the top defensive players on one of the best defensive teams in baseball. Entering Thursday, the Rays had committed only 12 errors — the fewest in the league. They were also the only team without an error at shortstop, thanks largely to Cabrera.

"I would argue he's been defensively as solid as any shortstop in baseball so far," Cash said.

MISCELLANY: The Rays' broadcast auction Wednesday night raised $44,000 for charities. … 1B James Loney was caught stealing for the first time since May 14, 2013. … The Rays are four games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. … Alex Rodriguez's solo home run in the ninth snapped the Rays' stretch of 26 innings without allowing an extra-base hit. … With his 1 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday, LHP Xavier Cedeno hasn't allowed a run in his last eight appearances. No lefty has started his Rays career with a longer scoreless stretch.

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