NEW YORK — The Rays were without infielder Yandy Diaz (right hamstring tightness), the team’s best hitter in the month of June, from their starting lineup for the second straight game Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Diaz hasn't played since leaving Sunday's game in the ninth inning.
“We’re trying to take it as a day-to-day thing,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The last thing you want to do is put him out there when he’s not feeling right and something maybe a little more severe possibly could happen. He’s been such a big part of the offense lately, even on the homestand he was really swinging the bat well. We don’t want to lose him for an extended period of time.”
In 15 games in June, Diaz is hitting .361 with a .935 OPS, raising his season batting average 30 points to .286.
Diaz missed nearly two weeks with a left hand bruise after he was hit by a pitch during the team’s last trip to Yankee Stadium.
The absence of Diaz — who starts at first base against most left-handed pitchers — forced the Rays to play Travis d’Arnaud on Tuesday at first base against Yankees left-handed starter J.A. Happ. Cash placed d’Arnaud in the leadoff spot to give the Rays an addition right-handed bat atop the team’s lefty-heavy batting order.
“I like the way Travis swings the bat,” Cash said. “He goes up there with some intent. He’s seen the ball pretty well as of late. Maybe he can jump start us from the first spot in the lineup.”
Glasnow pleased with first bullpen
Right-hander Tyler Glasnow took a significant step in his return from a right forearm strain, throwing a bullpen session for the first time since he went on the injured list.
Glasnow threw entirely fastballs — 15 pitches total — and was pleased with the session.
“First time throwing off the mound in a long time, but it felt like I hadn’t taken any time off, so that’s good,” he said.
Glasnow hasn’t thrown any breaking balls yet, another major hurdle in coming back, but said refining his lower-half mechanics will make it easier when he starts spinning the ball, which will likely happen next week.
“I’m a big believer, for me anyway, the more consistent I am and strong in the low half, like if my hips are in the right spot and I’m not cross firing and I feel strong with my legs and everything comes out in the right spot," Glasnow said. "So I know if my fastball feels good, my curveball is going to feel good. It’s basically like the exact same thing, it’s just over and under. But the consistency as far as pitch location was extremely good, so I know my curveball will come along.”
Glasnow is slated to throw his next bullpen session Friday.
“Very encouraged by his progress,” Cash said. “He’s got a ways to go, but you’ll take any positive from his effort and his workload and what’s being thrown at him so far. He’s throwing the ball with no issue and we’ll just get through this step-by-step process of building him back up.”
Duffy swinging again
Infielder Matt Duffy took batting practice with the Rays’ GCL team and logged at-bats in a simulated game in Port Charlotte. Cash said Duffy told him this is “probably the best he’s felt where he has not felt anything in his hamstring, which is a great sign.”
“We’ll start this back up, the buildup, the playing time,” Cash said. “He’s still got a ways to go. Everything’s been interrupted so far. Hopefully we can get it to go with no interruptions.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.