A day after celebrating clinching a berth in the playoffs for the second straight season, the Rays got some bad news. Outfielder Austin Meadows was diagnosed with a left oblique strain and placed on the 10-day injured list, with the potential that his season is over.
Meadows said he he felt something “pretty bad” during his second-inning at-bat in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader in Baltimore and woke up “pretty sore” on Friday, An MRI revealed a Grade 2 strain.
“It sucks, for sure,” he said.
Meadows said there is no timetable for his return. He hopes he feels better and the team is playing deep enough into the postseason for him to come back this year.
Manager Kevin Cash said players heal differently but indicated Meadows will be out for a while and that his chances of returning this season may depend on the Rays getting to the World Series, which starts on Oct. 20.
“We’re going to have to play really, really well to see him here at any point the rest of the season,” Cash said.
The injury caps a rough season for Meadows, who missed all but the first day of Spring 2.0 and the first 10 games after testing positive for COVID-19.
To take Meadows' spot on the active roster, the Rays added lefty reliever Sean Gilmartin. To make room for Gilmartin on the 40-man roster, they shifted lefty reliever Cody Reed from the 10- to the 45-day injured list. That ends the season for Reed, who was acquired from the Reds but then sidelined by a pinkie issue.
Gilmartin’s stay may be brief, as Cash also said catcher Mike Zunino, out nearly a month with an oblique strain, is expected to be activated in the next few days.
With a playoff berth clinched on Thursday, the Rays have now set their sights on the AL East title.
They go into play Friday in Baltimore with a 3-1/2 game lead over the Yankees with nine games to play. First pitch against the Orioles tonight is at 7:35.
Tyler Glasnow will be on the mound for the Rays and has been on somewhat of a roll, 3-0 with a 3.19 ERA over his last five starts. He is 3-1, 4.47 overall and has struck out 73 of 195 batters faced.
Former longtime Ray Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Orioles. Cobb is 1-4, 5.03 this season, 6-21, 5.29 in three injury-marred seasons since signing with Baltimore. He has faced the Rays five times previously, going 0-3, 4.61.
Here is the Rays lineup, with Yoshi Tsutsugo getting another look in the leadoff spot:
B. Lowe 2b
N. Lowe 1b
And here is the Orioles lineup: