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Tommy Pham playing through pain for Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Journal: Pham is dealing with right hand and elbow injuries that have limited his production: “It’s frustrating.”
Tampa Bay Rays' Tommy Pham, right, connects for a double in front of Houston Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, left, during a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Tampa Bay Rays' Tommy Pham, right, connects for a double in front of Houston Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos, left, during a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke) [ MICHAEL WYKE | AP ]
Published Sep. 18, 2019
Updated Sep. 18, 2019

LOS ANGELES — Outfielder Tommy Pham said if the Rays weren’t competing for a playoff spot he would not be playing the final weeks of the season due to his right hand and elbow injuries.

“One thousand percent,’’ Pham said. “It’s frustrating. I’ve never played like this.’’

Pham said the hand is feeling better, but he still lacks strength. “When I start hitting balls in BP out oppo (to the opposite field) like I was at the beginning of the year, then I’ll be more confident,’’ he said.

Still, Pham is producing, going into play Tuesday with hits in 12 of his last 13 games, and a .340 average and 8 RBIs over that span. (He was hitless in five at bats Tuesday in a 7-5 loss to the Dodgers).

MORE RAYS: Rays-Dodgers box score from Tuesday

Pham said the hand won’t be healed until he can rest it in the offseason, and while no surgery is planned for the elbow he is considering platelet-rich plasma and stem cell treatments.

“He wants to be out there, we want him out there, we’ve got to continue a do a good job of managing his workload, the treatment and rehab everything,’’ manager Kevin Cash.

“He’s certainly playing through a lot as with a lot of guys are playing through a lot in September throughout all of baseball. Tommy’s been nicked up pretty good here the last two months and just appreciate that he wants to be out there because he knows what a presence he is in our lineup.’’

Yonny Chirinos to rejoin the Rays?

Yonny Chirinos threw well enough in a simulated game Monday in Port Charlotte that Cash said “there’s a good chance” he will rejoin the Rays for his next outing this weekend, potentially working in relief. Chirinos, out since early August due to middle finger inflammation, threw 40 pitches over two-plus innings, clocking 93-94 mph. …

The reports are not as encouraging on infielder Brandon Lowe, who is still having issues running and isn’t likely to rejoin the Rays until the final week of the season, if then. Lowe had four at-bats against Chirinos Monday, and five plate appearances in an instructional league game Tuesday, with plans to do so again on Saturday. “Timing at the plate is there, infield (play) is there, but the running is not quite where we need it to be for his sake,’’ Cash said.

Number of the day

38

Franchise record active players for the Rays, with Blake Snell coming off the injured list.

De Leon’s return to Dodger Stadium

Jose De Leon debuted for the Dodgers during their September 2016 run to the playoffs prior to being traded to the Rays the next January. Even though he pitched in only four games for them, he said he was excited to be back at Dodger Stadium, even if he got lost trying to find the visiting clubhouse. “Nothing but good memories,’’ he said Tuesday. “Last time I was in this stadium we were popping bottles for winning the west so that’s probably the best you can get.’’

Miscellany

* The Dodgers didn’t announce publicly until late afternoon they were changing plans for Tuesday’s game and using lefty Caleb Ferguson as an opener rather than starting righty Ross Stripling, but Cash said he got a text around noon so was able to plan the lineup accordingly.

* Wednesday’s game starts unusually at 5:10 Los Angeles time (8:10 on the east coast), which is unusual for regular season play but common for postseason games. “Maybe they’re prepping us and themselves,’’ Cash joked. “That’d be great.’’

* This is the Rays’ third trip to Dodger Stadium in six years, after not playing in the historic venue for their first 15 seasons. They were 1-4 previously.

* Brendan McKay said he was looking forward to pitching at Dodger Stadium; he played there in 2016 with Team USA, going 2-for-2 with a walk as the first baseman in a 10-6 victory over the Santa Barbara Foresters, who are part of the California Collegiate League.

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays