1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays’ Tommy Pham ready to return to action

The leftfielder looks to play in matinee against Tigers
Rays outfielder Tommy Pham (29) hasn't played since straining his calf against the Minnesota Twins on May 30. ALLIE GOULDING | Times
Published Jun. 6
Updated Jun. 6

DETROIT — As long as Tommy Pham doesn’t wake up Thursday feeling any discomfort in his previously strained right calf, he will be back in the Tampa Bay lineup for the first time since May 30.

And he is confident the Rays, who lost the first four games he missed before winning Wednesday, will be better for it.

“It’s been tough watching the team play; we haven’t been as successful lately,’’ Pham said before the 4-0 win over the Tigers. “We’ve played a lot of close games and I know I could have made a difference in ‘em. That’s what’s tough.

"With me in the lineup it makes it a little bit deeper. I’m a tougher out. I help others when I’m in the lineup, whether I’m getting on base or if there’s guys on base they have to pitch to me different. There’s whole different angles you can look at this. If I’m on base a guy might get a little bit more fastballs. Or if someone else is on base everyone knows I’m going to be a tough out – I get on base 40 percent of the time and that helps any lineup.’’

MORE RAYS: Morton helps Tampa Bay snap four-game skid

Manager Kevin Cash said it’s obvious they missed Pham, who was hitting .300 with eight homers, 25 RBIs and an .897 OPS.

“Pretty big presence in the lineup, I can’t argue that,’’ he said. “He definitely lengthens out our lineup. The one thing with Tommy, whether he’s hitting or not, he’s always pretty taxing on the opposing pitcher. And sometimes it helps get other guys good pitches to hit.’’

Pham said he was “cleared” to play again when he ran at 100 percent for the first time Wednesday, and is “1000 percent” sure he will be ready to go in the matinee series finale. Cash said that is the plan as long as he comes in feeling good and they hope he will “manage” the situation by not overdoing things.

Pham said if he’s not in the Thursday lineup he and Cash would need to “have a serious talk.’’ Or, he joked, he’d go over his head: “I’d have to send a text to (GM Erik) Neander or something.’’

MORE RAYS: Complete List of Tampa Bay's draft picks

More medical updates

Infielder Joey Wendle (broken right wrist) wanted to spend one more day working out with advanced Class A Charlotte before beginning a rehab assignment Thursday of undetermined length. “He’s going to deal with some soreness for a while,’’ Cash said. “He still feels it.” … Catcher Michael Perez (oblique) started his rehab with the Stone Crabs on Tuesday, and went 2-for-4 Wednesday as the DH in his second game, but may be there a while. “He’s doing okay,’’ Cash said. “We’ve got to get Mikey over the hump a little bit. Coming back from injuries has been a challenge for him in the past. It seems like it’s being a challenge right now. But he is playing, so hopefully we continue to see progress. … Infielder Andrew Velazquez went on the injured list at Triple A Durham with a left thumb sprain expected to sideline him for up to two weeks.

MORE RAYS: Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays game.

Special of the day

The Rays sold out of $5 tickets for the Friday, June 14, game against the Angels in about 24 hours, but as of Wednesday evening had then available for the other four games as part of the Summer Special flash sale: June 10-12 vs. Oakland, June 13 vs. Los Angeles. The team said 5,000 tickets would be available at the discounted price for each game. The sale continues until 11:59 p.m. Thursday at

The grand-grand treatment

Tuesday was the first game in the majors this season with grand slams by both teams, and the first involving the Rays since 2007.

The List
Date Rays hitter Opposing hitter
5/3/1998 Paul Sorrento Sandy Alomar Jr., Indians
6/26/2001 Greg Vaughn Trot Nixon, Red Sox
7/22/2004 Rocco Baldelli Nick Punto, Twins
9/25/2007 Jorge Velandia Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
6/4/2019 Willy Adames Miguel Cabrera, Tigers


• Shortstop Wander Franco headlines eight Bowling Green Hot Rods named to the June 18 Class A Midwest League All-Star Game. Franco, catcher Chris Betts and DH Roberto Alvarez were chosen as starters, with outfielder Grant Witherspoon a reserve and Shane McClanahan, Easton McGee, Caleb Sampen and Alan Strong among the pitchers.

• Austin Meadows, who went into play Wednesday hitting .356, is just the fourth Ray to lead the AL in hitting after May 31 in a season, joining Jason Bartlett (2009), Matt Joyce (2011), Corey Dickerson (2017). The latest date any Ray has led is June 26; Dickerson in 2017.

• The Sunday-Tuesday games marked the first time the Rays yielded nine or more runs in back-to-back games since July 27-28, 2018, and was part of a stretch of allowing 29 runs on 47 hits over four games. Then Wednesday they posted their sixth shutout of the season.

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TB_Times_Rays.


  1. Could a reunion with outfielder Steven Souza Jr., shown during a 2016 game, be possible for the Rays?
    What they’ve done so far, what they’re looking to do, Hall of Fame possibilities, and rumblings.
  2. GM Erik Neander spoke Thursday about the challenges of making the Rays better. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Trading Tommy Pham created some financial flexibility heading to winter meetings but the challenge remains.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Tommy Pham (29) celebrates inherent dug out after hitting a two run homer in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, September 27, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Pham said he enjoyed the team Rays had, expected to be pushing with them for a 2020 World Series championship.
  4. Rays fans grew accustomed to scenes such as this last season. Tommy Pham got thrown out on the bases 20 times, which was third-most in the majors. It was also part of a disturbing trend. He was also thrown out 15 times in 2017 and 18 in 2018. DIRK SHADD | Times Photo DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    John Romano | Deciphering Tampa Bay’s offseason moves feels like playing 3D chess. You cannot judge their trades simply by the stats on the back of a baseball card.
  5. San Diego Padres' Hunter Renfroe bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso) RALPH FRESO  |  AP
    Trade with Padres also yields Rays touted prospect Xavier Edwards, costs them Jake Cronenworth.
  6. In this Dec. 6, 2013, file photo, Yankees GM Brian Cashman rappels down One Landmark Square during a charity event in Stamford, Conn. While Cashman was descending the Landmark Building in Stamford on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in preparation for a holiday celebration this weekend, he came across a message taped to a 10th-floor window from a fan: Please sign Gerrit Cole. DRU NADLER  |  AP
    New York’s general manager, who met with the prized free agent pitcher on Tuesday, says the sign was taped to a 10th-floor window of the 22-story building in Connecticut.
  7. The post of Blake Snell's reaction to the trade was popular on Twitter Friday. Twitter
    Snell said his comments about Xavier Edwards captured on the Twitch gaming stream weren’t meant to be disrespectful.
  8. San Diego Padres' Hunter Renfroe is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 10. ORLANDO RAMIREZ  |  AP
    Powerful outfielder, prospect are return in deal that sent Tommy Pham and prospect Jake Cronenworth to San Diego.
  9. Mayor Rick Kriseman on Wednesday said he will not allow the Tampa Bay Rays to explore splitting their season between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal prior to the 2027 expiration of the team's lease of Tropicana Field. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    Politicians on both sides of the bay weigh in on St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s decision to cease talks with the team.
  10. Rays team presidents Brian Auld and Matt Silverman in their office at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Tampa Bay Rays
    Team presidents Brian Auld and Matt Silverman on the Montreal plan, stadium sites, downtown St. Pete development and more.