Tuesday afternoon in Chicago, Rays infielder Mike Brosseau walked into the visiting clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“It was like he had never left,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Well, he didn’t go very far.
Monday, as first baseman Ji-Man Choi came off the 10-day injured list and was added to the roster, the Rays optioned Brosseau to Triple-A Durham. The versatile, energetic Brosseau was probably the odd-man out, but his .184 batting average didn’t help matters. Perhaps playing every day in Durham would help.
He never got there.
Monday night, Brosseau had permission to visit his Indiana hometown, some 40 minutes from the ballpark. “I saw the parents and the pups at the house,” he said. When Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow left Monday night’s game with an injury — it was later determined to be a partial UCL tear and flexor strain — Brosseau quickly was contacted and told to stay ready. Suddenly, he was back in play.
When Glasnow went on the 10-day injured list Tuesday, the Rays called back Brosseau. Against the White Sox, he started at second base and batted fifth in the lineup.
“He’s as mentally equipped to handle what happened in the last 24 hours as anybody we have on the roster,” Cash said.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions the last 24 to 36 hours,” Brosseau said. “Going forward, I just want to be present, do my job, help the team win. As far as my plan to kind of stay around, I just want to help the club out. That has been my motto all season.”
Picking up the slack
Glasnow’s injury made for a somber pregame mood, but Rays pitchers are determined to do their part.
“Tyler is a big part of the success we’ve had, so whenever you see a teammate or a brother go through something like that, it hits you pretty hard,” said left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, the scheduled starter in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale at Chicago. “We have a lot of depth, a lot of guys who are going to step up and contribute. Everyone is willing to take on that challenge.”
In the short term, Cash said veteran right-hander Michael Wacha will be stretched out to become the fifth starter.
“Our opinions on (Wacha) have not changed one bit from the time we signed him,” Cash said. “We’ve had a lot of pitchers throwing really well and guys were hot at the time. He (Wacha) got hurt and has kind of waited here. Now he’ll be playing a bigger role and we’ll look to insert him Into the rotation.”
There are also interesting pitchers at Durham, such as Luis Patino and Brent Honeywell Jr., along with promising prospects Shane Baz and Joe Ryan (who aren’t on the 40-man roster).
Glasnow’s injury coincided with MLB’s release of new rules concerning the use of foreign substances on the baseball — to be implemented starting Monday — so there were no shortage of opinions in the Rays’ clubhouse.
The slickness of 2021 baseballs: “There are times when they feel super slick in your hand and you have no grip,” Yarbrough said. “As a pitcher, all you’re really concerned about is having an idea where the ball is going. You see guys getting a new ball, holding it for two seconds, then throwing it out. They keep throwing them out until they find one they like.”
Safety: “Safety is first and foremost in this game,” Brosseau said. “(To change) in midseason is a little bit out there, I think. As hitters, we don’t want an unfair advantage. And pitchers want the most consistent playing field, like we all do.”
Cash said the Rays talked about the new rules as a group. There were conversation and questions.
“MLB has gotten it out there (and) in the next handful of days, there will be more questions that arise,” Cash said.
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