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Rays Jalen Beeks searching for something as struggles continues

Lefty gives up 7 runs on 11 hits over five innings. Also, notes on Kiermaier injury, Wendle return. Glasnow/Snell updates.
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks delivers during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks delivers during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) [ NICK WASS | AP ]
Published Aug. 26, 2019
Updated Aug. 26, 2019

BALTIMORE — Jalen Beeks had another bad day on the mound for the Rays.

And a long one.

With the Orioles scoring three off Beeks when he took over in the third Sunday to extend their lead to 4-0 and building from there, the Rays left him out there to cover five full innings to save further wear on the bullpen, and he had some ugly numbers to show for it: seven runs on 11 hits.

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“Tough day, couldn’t really get anything going,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “It seemed Baltimore was on a lot of his pitches. Didn’t get a ton of swing and miss. They saw the ball well, and they capitalized on every pitch that he threw over the plate it seemed like.’’

Beeks has had lots of tough days lately, working 30⅓ innings over his past seven outings and allowing 28 earned runs on a whopping 45 hits (including eight homers) and 14 walks.

They need him to pitch better, given the injuries to others, and are trying to get him right.

“He looks like a guy right now on the mound a little bit where — I don’t know if lost is the right word — but not feeling it. Searching. Searching is probably the best word,’’ Cash said. “And it’s tough to compete at this level when you’re searching. And I think that’s what he’s doing.’’

Beeks didn’t agree with the “searching” description, feeling he was being aggressive, but he knows at 5-3, 4.55 overall that he has to do better. And insists he remains confident he can.

“I know who I am,’’ he said. “I’ve battled through it. I haven’t given anything less than 100 percent every day, so it’s frustrating to get the results that I’ve been getting. But I believe in myself. I believe I’m here for a purpose and a reason. And I’m going to continue to pitch.’'

Kiermaier’s pain

Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier left the game in the sixth, an inning after crashing into the centerfield wall in pursuit, albeit unsuccessful, of a fly ball and was quite sore and bruised in the ribs area. But he was relieved that X-rays were negative and somewhat optimistic he’d be back in the lineup after Monday’s off-day: “I’ll be okay, just a whole lot of muscles not too happy right now.”

Wendle’s return, albeit limited

Infielder Joey Wendle was happy to come off the injured list and rejoin the team after rehabbing at Triple-A Durham, but both he and Cash acknowledged that his workload will have to be managed to keep him from further aggravating his still sore right wrist. Wendle will cut way back on pregame swings and likely will be limited to playing no more than two games in a row. With Eric Sogard playing well at second, Cash said that Wendle will get most of his time at third (where he started Sunday, going 1-for-4) and shortstop (giving Willy Adames an occasional break), and could also be used in the outfield. Wendle, on the injured three times in what has been somewhat of a lost season, said he welcomed the chance to contribute. “It’s definitely been an up-and-down season, mostly down, personally,’’ he said. “Honestly, none of that matters right now. We’re in a really good spot as a team. I’m here to help us win in any way I can. And I feel like the end of August/September would be a great opportunity to kind of turn things around a little bit.''

Glasnow should be first back, then Snell, then Chirinos

The Rays haven’t set a specific timetable for the expected September returns of injured pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Yonny Chirinos, but a timeline is forming.

Glasnow (forearm strain) is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday in Port Charlotte, which could be the last step before starting a short rehab assignment Friday and potentially returning by the second week of September. Cash said that Snell (left elbow surgery), still limited to playing catch, is “probably 10 days behind him at least’’ and that Chirinos (right middle finger inflammation), also playing catch, will be after Snell.

Cash also said when they come back, they likely will be used as starters, albeit with a limited workload as they won’t be stretched out.

“Most likely we’re just going to start them just as we would any other game and look to find ways to build them up,’' he said. “Keep them on a five-day plan. We’re not going to bring guys back where they’re going to be throwing on three days and all that stuff. That wouldn’t be smart to those guys. They’re three huge pieces of our team right now and going forward. We’re not going to alter what they and what they’ve done well throughout their careers.’’


• Reliever Jose Alvarado is slated for an MRI and doctor exam Monday in St. Petersburg to determine the cause and extent of the elbow injury he mentioned after pitching poorly as the opener Saturday. He said he first became aware after a team athletic trainer asked if he was all right after watching video of a pitch. Cash said the video session Alvarado mentioned was news to him: “He was fine. He was fine throughout the game and then I guess his elbow flared up either once he came off the mound, or not. I have no idea about any video.’’

• Austin Meadows extended his hitting streak to seven games and grounded into only his second double play of the season.

• The Rays and the other 14 teams that got stuck wearing the all-white monochromatic uniforms for Players Weekend can be happy it’s over.

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays