Rays plan to stick with struggling Brandon Lowe

Rays notes | Though the second baseman is hitting below .200, the team remains confident in a turnaround.
Brandon Lowe, here in a game against the Phillies on Sunday, continues to struggle at the plate.
Brandon Lowe, here in a game against the Phillies on Sunday, continues to struggle at the plate. [ MENGSHIN LIN | Times ]
Published June 2, 2021|Updated June 2, 2021

NEW YORK — Brandon Lowe got a hit Tuesday, a single off Yankees pitcher Domingo German’s glove to lead off the game. That normally wouldn’t be news, but he’s had so few lately, just one in his previous 23 at-bats.

Lowe has been struggling much of the season, and after going 1-for-5 Tuesday has the fourth-lowest batting average (.189) in the majors and fourth-most strikeouts (66) in the American League. He has nine homers, 22 RBIs and a .672 OPS.

But, as he did when Lowe floundered through the 2020 postseason (.118, four homers, eight RBIs, .459 OPS), manager Kevin Cash is planning to stick with him. He noted that Lowe has shown signs of getting warm in short stretches and has hit some balls hard for outs.

“He’s a big part of our offense; we’ve got to find a way to get him going,” Cash said Tuesday afternoon. “I think he has shown results and then maybe gone quiet. But like even (in Monday’s) game, he had really good swings, he smokes a ball (at) the start of the game. He gets underneath it and we’re talking about us having a 1-0 score right there. The next at-bat, he smokes a ball down the line and (first baseman D.J.) LeMahieu makes a great play. ...

“We are very, comfortable where Brandon’s at. Certainly we’d like to see his numbers get to where he’s gotten them to in the past, but trust he’s going to.”

Lowe has been especially bad against lefties, going just 4-for-55; last year he hit .300 vs. lefties.

The Rays also noted that Lowe has continued to play good defense at second base despite his problems at the plate.

Roe’s rehab delayed

The plan to have veteran reliever Chaz Roe start a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Durham was delayed when he joined the team and reported “a little bit of soreness” in his right shoulder, which has sidelined him since early April.

“We’re going to bump him back. We’ll see what it is,” Cash said. “We want to make sure he’s totally right before we start all that. But Chaz’s buildup until (Tuesday) has been really, really good. So we’ll see how he bounces back from some treatment and maybe get him back in there (Wednesday) or the next day. But I’ll wait to hear from the trainers on what the next step is.”


⋅ With a 3-1, 0.78 record in six May starts, Rich Hill has a good chance Wednesday to join Scott Kazmir (May 2008), David Price (September 2010), Jeremy Hellickson (May 2011), Chris Archer (July 2013), Blake Snell (August and September 2018) and Tyler Glasnow (April 2019) as Rays to win the American League pitcher of the month award.

⋅ Prospect Joe Ryan, who has with been with Durham, started for Team USA on Tuesday against the Dominican Republic in an Olympic qualifying tournament game in West Palm Beach, working 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out 10.

⋅ Lefty Shane McClanahan made his major-league debut against the Yankees in the 2020 playoffs; Wednesday he makes his first start against them and his first in New York.

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⋅ Tuesday’s loss ended the Rays’ franchise record-matching streak of nine straight road wins.

⋅ Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and team president Matt Silverman are expected in New York for Major League Baseball’s quarterly owners meetings this week.

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