The Rays are set to open a quick two-game series against the Nationals tonight at Tropicana Field, first pitch 6:40.
Reliever Oliver Drake was activated off the injured list after a longer-than-expected five-week stint due to biceps tendinitis.
Drake said he was excited to be back, and manager Kevin Cash said the Rays are eager to have him, noting his ability to handle right- and left-handed hitters and work multiple innings. But Cash also said they will be cautious and monitor Drake’s workload.
Drake took the place of first baseman Ji-Man Choi, who was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain that is expected to keep him out through the rest of the regular season at least.
The Rays are using John Curtiss as the opener tonight, with Ryan Yarbrough working the bulk innings. Cash said they decided to go back to the opener for several reasons — essentially that it is better for both pitchers and puts the team in a better position to win.
He said they may do so again on Wednesday, when rookie Josh Fleming is scheduled to start.
Here is the Rays lineup, with Kevin Kiermaier adamant that after a couple days off to deal with general soreness he is ready to return:
B Lowe 2b
N. Lowe 1b
And here is the Nationals lineup: