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Rays’ Yonny Chirinos sidelined again, this time with elbow strain

The right-hander had just returned to active duty on Sunday after missing 12 games due to triceps inflammation.
Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos has been placed on the injured list with a right elbow strain.
Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos has been placed on the injured list with a right elbow strain. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Aug. 19, 2020
Updated Aug. 20, 2020

Rays right-hander Yonny Chirinos has been sidelined again, the Rays announcing just before Wednesday’s game in New York that he had been placed on the injured list with a right elbow strain.

Manager Kevin Cash said they are awaiting further medical evaluations to determine the full extent of the injury, but from what he shared, it did not sound good.

“He threw a bullpen, a light (session), and just didn’t feel right, like himself,” Cash said of Chirinos after the 4-2 win in New York. “He complained of just a lack of power in his pitches.”

Chirinos returned Sunday after missing 12 games with triceps inflammation. He worked 2⅔ innings against the Blue Jays, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He threw 50 pitches, showing no signs of any issue. It was his third start of the season and left him with an 0-0, 2.38 record.

Cash said after that start that the Rays were “encouraged” by Chirinos’ stuff and were confident he could build off it.

Chirinos was going through his usual between-starts routine with no mention of any issues, likely to make his next start Saturday.

But those plans were shuffled quickly when he reported the problem during Wednesday’s throwing session.

Chirinos missed the first two weeks of Spring 2.0 after testing positive for COVID-19, though he said after joining the workouts July 19 that he had relatively mild symptoms. He was able to do some workouts while quarantined and was deemed ready to open the season, making two starts before the first injury became an issue.

“We’ll have him checked out for sure,” Cash said. “Want to get him right. We totally respect and understand the unique build-up that a lot of these guys have had, and he’s right at the top of that list. Hopefully some time off will help that.”

Right-hander Aaron Slegers was added to the active roster to take Chirinos’ place. Slegers has been with the Rays on the road trip as a member of the taxi squad, and this is the third time he has been “called up.”

Chirinos is the seventh Rays pitcher to be on the injured list, joining starter Charlie Morton, potential replacement starter Brendan McKay, and relievers Jose Alvarado, Oliver Drake, Andrew Kittredge and Colin Poche. McKay, Kittredge and Poche are out for the season.

Morton, sidelined since Aug. 9 with shoulder inflammation, is on track to return this weekend. He is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday or Friday as a final test.

McKay was scheduled for season-ending shoulder surgery Wednesday; the Rays did not provide any details.

Choi switching off switch-hitting

Ji-Man Choi plans to abandon his switch-hitting experiment, at least for now, to focus on improving his natural left-handed swing.

Choi, who switch-hit briefly in the minors, started taking batting practice right-handed during Spring 2.0 and felt comfortable enough to try it in the big-leagues, homering in his first at-bat right-handed off Jays lefty Anthony Kay. But he then went 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts.

His numbers as a lefty hitter also have been down — .190, though hitting his first lefty homer of the season Wednesday, and off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole no less.

“The whole process was a little bit rushed I feel like,” Choi said, via translator Steve Nam. “Swinging from the right side as a righty kind of messed up my balance a little bit hitting as a lefty — swinging, timing-wise and seeing the ball. I don’t want to make any excuses, but it kind of put a negative effect on my swing.

“As of now I’m going to focus on (hitting) as a lefty because I want to help the team as much as possible. But in the future I still haven’t decided yet. Maybe with a full offseason and a full spring, maybe it’s a go, but as of now I’m going to focus on my left(-handed) swing.”

Historical context

There have been three major-leaguers in history with the last name Roe, and there have been nine named Wade. Per baseball-reference.com, the final play of Tuesday’s game featured the first ever matchup of Roe v Wade, referencing the landmark Supreme Court ruling.

Quote of the day

“It’s been a long trip. We’ve been stuck inside our hotel a lot the past week, so we are certainly ready to get home.”

— Infielder Joey Wendle, on Thursday’s finale of an 11-day, 10-game, three-city trip

Miscellany

Brandon Lowe extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning single. … With blasts from Choi and Mike Zunino, the Rays hit multiple homers for a fourth straight game. … Trevor Richards, set to pitch Thursday, said that in his second season with the Rays he is much more comfortable switching between starting and relieving: “I’m just always ready to go, whenever, however long they need me.” … On Wednesday, Jalen Beeks became the seventh Ray to earn a save this season, most for any team. … Lefty Sean Gilmartin joined the team in New York and was added to the taxi squad Wednesday.