SAN DIEGO — Jose Alvarado said Tuesday he was happy to be back with the Rays after a five-plus week injured list stint recovering from an oblique strain.
“I’m very excited,’’ he said. “And I’m ready to pitch.’’
More important will be what he shows them.
And perhaps to re-ingratiate himself with them.
Alvarado, 24, has had something of a lost season.
Pegged for high leverage duty, he started off well then struggled with consistency. Then he took a month-long leave to go home to Venezuela to deal with family matters including his mother’s health. Then he came back looking out of shape and got hurt in his fourth game.
Alvarado said the time away was difficult as he knew the team needed him but felt the family matters were more pressing.
“That situation for me was not easy,’’ he said. “My mom is my mom. I got my father there working. The money is Venezuela is nothing now. In the house everybody depends on me. When I was a young kid I spent all the time together with my mom.’’
When his mother’s situation, which he had declined to detail, stabilized in Venezuela he felt it was okay to return. The oblique strain set him back further, but he said he now he looks forward to pitching.
“Whatever situation Kevin Cash has for me, I’m ready,’’ he said. “I don’t care. … I’m ready to compete.’’
Alvarado made five rehab appearances before coming back. He thus far is 0-5 with a 5.06 ERA, converting seven of nine saves.
Cash said they were glad to have Alvarado, likely will slot him in higher leverage situations, and that strike-throwing will be key.
“(His) back’s against the wall,’’ Cash said. “This is a tough, tough business to be in when you’re missing time due to injury or the personal reason, all of those things. Hopefully he can kind of turn it around and have a really strong two months for us.’’
Austin Pruitt was optioned to Triple-A to make room after throwing four strong innings to get the W in Monday’s 10-4 win over the Padres. That was Pruitt’s eight stint with the Rays this season.
Medical matters: Pham, B. Lowe, Wendle, Glasnow
Outfielder Tommy Pham was out of the lineup Tuesday to give his sore right hand additional rest but is expected to play Wednesday. He has been limited since spraining the hand sliding on July 28, and 5-for-30 since. ham said late Monday he plans to play through the injury, which includes a small fracture. “I’m not going on the injured list; I’ll fight them on that,'' he said. "Granted there is something wrong with my hand, but I can play. These pills have to kick in. The swelling already went down a lot. So I’ll be all right.’’
Infielders Brandon Lowe, sidelined since July 2 with a bruised leg, and Joey Wendle, July 28 with a sore right wrist, have progressed enough to start getting at-bats in Gulf Coast League games by Thursday and then start moving their rehab up through the minor leagues. … Pitcher Tyler Glasnow, out since May a with forearm strain, is still at the stage of playing catch, though Cash said he is makign progressed based on a video he saw Tuesday. “He was letting it go,’’ Cash said. “Very encouraging.’’
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Brendan McKay was the Rays starting pitcher and No. 9 hitter Tuesday, taking advantage of the NL rules game to do both in the same game for the first time since college. McKay was excited to do so, though it didn’t start well. After walking only three of the first 125 batters he faced over 29 2/3 innings, he walked three of the first six Tuesday in a four-run first. McKay, who hadn’t batted in a game since July 29 at Triple-A, walked his first time up.
* The Rays have Charlie Morton set to start Friday at home against Detroit and Ryan Yarbrough on Saturday with Sunday listed as TBA. Trevor Richards, acquired July 31 from Miami, seems likely to be called up to work in a bulk inning role as the Rays want to keep McKay on his six-day schedule.
* Righty Joe Ryan was moved up from advanced Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery, his second promotion after starting the season with Class A Bowling Green. Ryan, 23, is 9-4, 1.79 with the Hot Rods and Stone Crabs, striking out 159 in 110 1/3 innings.
* Veteran reliever Oliver Drake on Monday got his first hit in the second at-bat of his five-year big-league career, an RBI single in the eighth. "Very cool,'' Drake said. "Getting a knock in the big leagues is pretty sweet.''
* Infielder Eric Sogard went into play Tuesday with a 24-game on-base and a 10-game hitting streak.