ST. PETERSBURG – Tyler Glasnow was one of the top starters in the league until being sidelined by a forearm strain in early May. With Glasnow seemingly recovered and on track to rejoin the team next month, the Rays are planning to bring him back as a reliever, which will expedite his return.
By using the hard-throwing Glasnow for one- or two-inning stints at least initially, the Rays won’t have to wait for him to build back up to starter length throwing meaningless innings in minor-league rehab games to get stretched out.
The tentative plan has him starting a rehab assignment with the advanced Class A Stone Cabs on or about Aug. 30, and once he shows he is healthy and sharp in games they can lock in on a date for his return.
Whether Glasnow would be used in late-inning situations or as an opener has yet to be decided, manager Kevin Cash said. “With that stuff, I think he can be effective anywhere if he picks up where he left off.’’
Glasnow said he is open to anything that gets him back on the mound: “However they want to use me, I’m down to do whatever.’’
Glasnow passed another hurdle Monday with his first bullpen session since June. He threw 15 pitches, all fastballs, clocking in the mid-90, getting told by pitching coach Kyle Snyder to hold back a bit, saying he felt good, all of which Cash said was “very, very encouraging.’’
Glasnow has two more bullpen sessions and a live batting practice to do before the first rehab game, but said the chances are “very high” he’ll be back with the Rays. “Optimistic for sure; it feels really good,’’ he said. “I think the last week or two, it’s been like, Okay, I’m good to go. The recovery process has been really good. I don’t wake up sore or anything. Everything feels fine.’’
B. Lowe, Wendle closing in on returns; Garcia swings
Infielders Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle headed to Durham on Monday to move their rehab assignments to Triple-A after playing for the Stone Crabs this weekend, both hoping to rejoin the team sometime during the seven-game roadtrip that starts Thursday in Baltimore.
Wendle, out since late July with a sore right wrist, said “everything is feeling pretty good” and “it’s just a matter of getting some at-bats and making sure when I come back I’m productive and ready to go.’’
Lowe, out since early July with a bruised right leg, said he’s “feeling really good,’’ but is not 100 percent, with baserunning the biggest issue, such as being sure he can run all out and score from first on a ball in the gap. “I want to be back as soon as possible; I’d love to push their hand,’’ he said. “But it’s not just my decision. … We’ve got to make sure that I’m going to help the team and not going to hurt it.’’
Fitting both onto the roster before the Sept. 1 expansion could be challenging, though the Rays are currently carrying 13 pitchers, and infielder Mike Brosseau and outfielder Guillermo Heredia both have options and could be sent down.
Also, outfielder Avisail Garcia took swings in the cage to test his strained oblique and if he feels okay Tuesday will take a full batting practice with the potential for a short rehab assignment and a return to action Saturday when eligible.
Former Ray Mallex Smith was back in the Mariners lineup after a two-day benching for what manager Scott Servais said were repeated mental mistakes on the bases and in the field. “We certainly talked about where we’re at,’’ Servais said. “Had conversations with him. He understands, he just wants to get out there and play and do his thing.’’ Smith didn’t have much to say about the situation beyond that he is “always happy to play.’’ Smith said he enjoyed being back at the Trop, and that being on the visitors’ side for the first time wasn’t weird.
* Third-base coach Rodney Linares was away Monday, and potentially again Tuesday, for a personal matter. Bench coach Matt Quatraro filled in.
* Lefty Anthony Banda’ thrice-extended rehab assignment from Tommy John surgery ends Wednesday, so by Friday he will have to be reinstated from the 60-day injured list and put back on the 40-man roster, then either activated or optioned to Triple-A Durham, where he is 2-3, 5.57 in seven games.
* The Saturday and Sunday walkoffs were the Rays first in back to back games for the first time since May 22-24, 2014, and sixth time overall.
* Catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who has already shown to be a solid first baseman, is also taking ground balls at third base.