Rays’ Jose Alvarado returns from personal leave

The left-handed reliever will report to Port Charlotte to prepare for his return to the major-league roster.
The Rays' Yandy Diaz singles during the eighth inning against the Angels on Sunday, June 16, 2019. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
The Rays' Yandy Diaz singles during the eighth inning against the Angels on Sunday, June 16, 2019. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published June 16

ST. PETERSBURG — Jose Alvarado returned to the United States after tending to a personal matter in his native Venezuela.

The left-handed reliever is scheduled to report to Port Charlotte to begin a throwing program and prepare for a return to the active roster.

“He seems to be in a good spot. I watched him play catch, and he threw the ball fine,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said Sunday.

Alvarado, 24, last appeared in a game on June 1 and went on the restricted list on June 9. He has a 3.09 ERA and six saves in 26 games this season.

Alvarado was a reliable piece in the back end of the bullpen last season with eight saves and a 2.39 ERA over 64 innings.

Slow starts

The Angels scored in the top of the first inning Sunday, the fifth straight game in which the Rays’ opponent scored first. The Rays went 2-3 in those games.

The Angels’ lead didn’t last long as Brandon Lowe tied it with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning.

“Ideally, we’d like to go out and score runs every time in the first inning,” Cash said before the game. “It would be nice to get the pitching settled in a little bit and let’s start piecing together some productive innings at the plate.”

Infielders raking

Third baseman Yandy Diaz had another two hits, giving him 11 over the seven-game homestand.

“He’s really been right in the middle of everything that we’ve done,” Cash said.

Diaz had four extra-base hits and drove in seven over the past week.

He’s not the only infielder cashing in. Second baseman Brandon Lowe, who had two hits Sunday, is batting .345/.406/.638 over his past 16 games and leads the team in home runs (15) and RBIs (44).

On the road again

The Rays travel to New York to face the Yankees, Monday night’s series opener the start of a 10-game road trip that also will take them to Oakland and Minnesota.

Tampa Bay is 2-4 against the Yankees this season, including 1-2 at Yankee Stadium. Three of their six games against New York have been decided by one run.

“We’ve got to get on this road trip and get off to a good start, because the way we played on this homestand was not ideal,” Cash said.

The Rays have the majors’ best road record this year, 23-10.

Miscellany

• Austin Meadows pulled a triple down the rightfield line in the third inning, only his second hit over his past 25 at-bats.

• Ryne Stanek made four appearances during the homestand, two as the opener and two as a reliever. He allowed one hit over his first three outings but stumbled Sunday. Stanek loaded the bases in the first — fielding error on first baseman Ji-Man Choi, hit, walk — before getting an out on Albert Pujols’ sac fly for an unearned run. Stanek then got Cesar Puello to ground into an inning-ending double play.

• Two-way prospect Brendan McKay, pitching Saturday for Triple-A Durham, faced Yankees outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who are on rehab assignment with Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The duo combined to go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against McKay.

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