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Rays’ Jose Alvarado exits with oblique strain

The reliever is likely headed to the injured list after leaving in the seventh inning against the Yankees.

ST. PETERSBURG — Left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado winced in pain after serving up a single to the Yankees’ Aaron Hicks in the seventh inning Saturday.

Manager Kevin Cash and athletic trainer Mark Vinson came out to check on Alvarado, who eventually exited the game with a right oblique strain.

Alvarado, who said he expects to miss 2-6 weeks, is scheduled for an MRI exam on Sunday.

“Nobody ever wants to get hurt or be hurt,” he said through an interpreter. “Everyone wants to be a good teammate and be out on the field, but unfortunately this is something that’s happened. It’s unexpected, but you just have to keep on moving forward.”

Alvarado started the season as a dominant piece in the back end of the bullpen, posting a 3.09 ERA in his first 23⅓ innings. But he missed significant time, leaving the team for nearly all of June to tend to his ailing mother in Venezuela, and has struggled since being reinstated June 28 from the restricted list.

In 3⅓ innings since rejoining the active roster, Alvarado has allowed seven earned runs, raising his ERA to 5.06.

McKay optioned

Two-way prospect Brendan McKay was optioned to Triple-A Durham after his start Friday against the Yankees. In his brief stint with the Rays, McKay made one start at DH and two starts on the mound, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. Cash said that McKay’s demotion was not based on performance but on the need for bullpen arms. Cash said he expects McKay to rejoin the Rays and start the early game of their July 13 double­header in Baltimore.

Gibaut called up

Reliever Ian Gibaut was recalled from Durham. The right-hander posted a strong 2018 in Triple A, but a right lat strain kept the 25-year-old from making the Rays’ active roster out of spring training. The Houston native said he called home after learning of his promotion Friday, and his parents flew into town for his potential major-league debut. “I’m really excited to be a part of this team,” Gibaut said. “This is definitely a special group of guys.”

On the mend

Reliever Diego Castillo threw 15 pitches Saturday, continuing his way back from right shoulder inflammation. The right-hander went on the 10-day injured list June 23. Cash said he expects him back for Baltimore after the All-Star break. Infielder Matt Duffy (hamstring) said he was not sore after playing consecutive rehab games in Port Charlotte on Thursday and Friday. “He feels the best he’s felt all season long,” Cash said.


• A pair of Rays prospects, shortstop Wander Franco and catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, will participate in tonight’s All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland. The seven-inning game starts at 7 and will be broadcast on MLB Network. Two-way prospect Brendan McKay also earned an invitation but will not participate.

• Sunday’s game at the Trop will be televised on TBS in addition to Fox Sports Sun. Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and Brian Anderson will be in the booth for TBS.

• Triple-A Durham pitchers Jake Cronenworth, Luis Santos and Cole Sulser threw a combined no-hitter in a seven-inning 5-0 victory against host Gwinnett on Friday.