HOUSTON — Rookie infielder Mike Brosseau has done a lot to help the Rays since being called up in June, then back again in early July to stay for a while. That includes taking three turns pitching in blowouts, most recently working two innings Tuesday against the Astros.
But with infielder Joey Wendle back from the injured list, and the bullpen needing someone to cover multiple innings, Brosseau was sent down Wednesday, and Jose De Leon was called back up to add a 13th pitcher.
”We’ve got to protect our pitchers,’’ Cash said. Especially since they have opener/bulk-innings-pitcher setups the next three games, “where we’re trying to get creative and we’re going to be using a lot pitchers throughout that, so we want to keep everybody as fresh as possible.’’
De Leon pitched for the Rays on Aug. 14 in San Diego, his first action in the majors in more than two years as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, and twice since for Triple-A Durham. He said he will be more comfortable emotionally this time around.
Brosseau will be back but has to spend the requisite 10 days in the minors, even though that carries past Sunday’s roster expansion.
Kiermaier out of lineup again
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier wasn’t well enough to be in the lineup Wednesday, still feeling the effects of the bruised rib cage he sustained crashing into the outfield wall Sunday in Baltimore. “Kind of unfortunate,’’ Cash said. “KK is wanting to get out there badly. We don’t want to put him in jeopardy with anything. I think there’s some uncertainty that the pain hasn’t subsided.’’ Cash said there are no plans for additional medical testing, and they hope Kiermaier can return today.
• Andrew Kittredge will be the opener on Thursday, with Trevor Richards slated to work the bulk of the innings.
• Minor-leaguers headed to the Arizona Fall League’s Salt River Rafters include pitchers Shane Baz, Drew Strotman, Alex Valverde, with one more to be added; catcher Ronaldo Hernandez; infielder Taylor Walls; and outfielder Josh Lowe. Rookie-level Princeton pitching coach Jim Paduch will be on the staff.
• Charlie Morton said the primary reason for his rough outing Tuesday was location, not that he was back for the first time in Houston, where he was cheered and saluted with an emotional video tribute that caused him to stop his warmups. He said he was throwing his pitches, specifically too many, in the same spots and not elevating his fastball or getting hitters to chase his curve. “I don’t know if I did a great job mixing,’’ he said.
• Tuesday’s 15-1 loss was the Rays’ most lopsided since 17-1 at Baltimore on May 13, 2018. It also was the first time they had allowed multiple runs in four straight innings since April 15, 2015.
• Field coordinator Craig Albernaz joined the Rays for the series in Houston.