ARLINGTON, Texas — Blake Snell will pitch again for Triple-A Durham on Thursday, with hope, but not certainty, he will be ready to rejoin the Rays after that.
Snell acknowledged Tuesday that he felt good physically in his first rehab outing on Saturday but uncomfortable overall on the mound and needs to sure he won’t be hurting the playoff-berth chasing team by returning too soon.
So he will see how he does and how he feels after throwing two innings or 30 pitches in Game 3 of the International League championship series against Columbus (Indians), then discuss with team officials whether he’d be ready to face the Dodgers in Los Angeles or needs more work.
“I’m going to let them know; maybe if I need a live BP,’’ Snell said. “I’m going to make sure I feel to where I can really help the team before I get out there. It’s not fair to the guys for me to just go out there just ‘cause I want to make sure I’m the best me I can be. And if I feel that way, I’ll be ready to go and be able to help the team as soon as I can get in.’’
Snell threw 24 pitches Saturday without getting out of the first, giving up two hits, walking two and striking out two in his first action since July 29 surgery to remove six bone chips from his left elbow.
“My arm feels good when I pitched that first game it was just very weird, very awkward, almost like spring (training) again, like you’ve got to get used to it,’’ he said. “I got better throughout that, I felt more comfortable so I was happy about that.
“But I was expecting to be like dominant and back to my ways and it was definitely not that. It was a good step, a lot to learn from it. … But it was new to me … For me to go back (to Durham), I’m definitely happy about it. Just because I know that I need it. To come here and feel the way I felt wouldn’t help the team, especially as much as we need to be winning right now.’’
Medical matters: Pham, Milner, Glasnow, B. Lowe, Chirinos
Outfielder Tommy Pham was out of the lineup Tuesday, but potentially closer to a return to left field on Wednesday after testing his sore forearm/elbow with pregame throwing. Pham said he felt well enough and was “ready to play” Tuesday; Cash said they want to give him one more day. The Rays were also without center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is sidelined by a neck strain. … Lefty reliever Hoby Milner was sent back to St. Petersburg to see back/neck specialist Dr. Tom Tolli due to increasing and spreading neck discomfort, which has been an issue for a while. Milner, who has pitched in four games, could be done for the season. … Tyler Glasnow came through Sunday’s first start since early May due to forearm discomfort well and is tentatively set to pitch next on Saturday against the Angels. … Righty Yonny Chirinos (finger inflammation) is scheduled to pitch and infielder Brandon Lowe (quad strain, leg bruise) to hit during a simulated game Wednesday in Port Charlotte that could provide a gauge of when, or if, either can return.
Infielder Nick Solak and reliever Ian Gibaut, traded from the Rays to the Rangers in July deals, said they were looking forward to seeing, and facing, their former mates. “It’s fun,’’ Solak said. “There’s a lot of guys I know from spring training, that I played with in Durham (from where he was traded). Went out to dinner with a good group of guys (Monday) night, got to catch up a little bit. Proud and happy for their success. We talked about how crazy it’s been this whole year, all the changes that have happened. It’s fun to be able to see them, and to go out there and compete against them.’’ Gibaut, who was traded a few weeks after making his debut, said he was surprised to be dealt but knew he’d have an opportunity with Texas. And now to pitch against the Rays: “I’m ready to. I’m real excited to face them. It will be a good time, a cool experience for sure. It will be fun to be out there competing against my buddies. Hopefully I’ll be the one coming out on top.’’
Outfielder Austin Meadows was enjoying a relaxing Monday off-day by the hotel pool so he didn’t know until checking his blown-up phone that he won the AL Player of the Week award. He was similarly honored in April, but said it meant more in September. “It’s a special honor,’’ he said. “Like I said last time, there’s a lot of great players. To be able to do it this time of year is pretty cool.’’
* Jose De Leon had a rough night Tuesday, allowing seven runs in three innings as Triple-A Durham lost 8-3 in the opener of best-of-five championship round play against a Columbus (Indians) team that includes former Rays catcher Dioner Navarro.
* Reliever Colin Poche was excited to make to Globe Life Park as a big-leaguer before it closes at seasons end, having attended many games as a fan and playing there once as a high schooler. “It’ll be really special,’’ he said. “They started playing there in ’94, that was the year I was born, so that was the stadium I grew up going to.’’
* With temperatures in the mid-90s, the Rays did pregame workouts in shorts, which was a first this season.
* Former Ray Logan Forsythe was in the Rangers lineup playing first base but was scratched due to intercostal muscle tightness.
Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays