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Rays Triple-A pitcher struck by line drive plans return to mound

Notebook | Tyler Zombro gives thanks to those who helped, shares photos of injuries and recovery.
Tyler Zombro wrote on Twitter Thursday that he's "one lucky guy and can’t wait to get back out there (whenever that is)!”
Tyler Zombro wrote on Twitter Thursday that he's "one lucky guy and can’t wait to get back out there (whenever that is)!” [ FRANK FRANKLIN II | Associated Press ]
Published Jun. 18
Updated Jun. 18

Tyler Zombro, the Rays’ Triple-A pitcher struck in the face by a line drive June 3, took to Twitter on Thursday to thank those who helped him, share photos of his recovery and make clear he plans to return to the mound.

“I’m one lucky guy,” he wrote, “and can’t wait to get back out there (whenever that is)!”

Zombro, 26, was rushed to Duke University Hospital, where he underwent what his mother said was “major brain surgery,” which included more the insertion of more than a dozen plates. He spent a week in the hospital (five days in intensive care) and was released June 9. He is now is undergoing speech and occupational therapy in Durham, N.C., with the help of wife Moriah.

Here is what Zombro posted:

“Unbelievably grateful to be in the situation I’m currently in with the incredible help from @DukeHospital & staff. To all of you that have showered my family and I with positive thoughts, I have no doubt that all of the prayer support kept God with me throughout that night, as I’m in a very fortunate position all things considered. The outpouring support and prayer has meant the world to Moriah and I, and I certainly believe you guys have well wished me to an enhanced recovery.

“To @raysbaseball and @durhambulls I cannot thank you guys enough for treating me the way you have, as this is what makes our organization so special. In optimistic news: I’ve never been the fastest on the field so I may have gotten a boost after this surgery.

“Thank you again to the entire baseball community for the support.”

Mike Ford acquired from Yankees

Mike Ford, then with the Yankees, stretches to make the catch for the out as the Rays' Randy Arozarena runs to first base during the sixth inning of a June 1 game in New York.
Mike Ford, then with the Yankees, stretches to make the catch for the out as the Rays' Randy Arozarena runs to first base during the sixth inning of a June 1 game in New York. [ FRANK FRANKLIN II | Associated Press ]

The Rays added depth behind first baseman Ji-Man Choi by acquiring Mike Ford from the Yankees for cash or a player to be named. The lefty-swinging Ford, designated for assignment Saturday, will report to Triple-A Durham. He hit .259 with 12 homers, 25 RBIs and a .909 OPS over 50 games in 2019, but hasn’t done much the last two in limited action, hitting a combined .134 with five homers, 16 RBIs and a .526 OPS.

He profiles similar to Choi, having a keen eye for good strike-zone judgement, some power and a solid glove. “We’re trying to be as good as we possibly can,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said in Seattle. “And to do that we need as much depth as possible. Mike Ford, specifically, is a guy from afar we have appreciated for the last two, three seasons.”

Miscellany

⋅ Outfielder Randy Arozarena extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single.

⋅ Reliever Collin McHugh was reinstated from the COVID-19-related injured list, missing just one day. He woke up Wednesday feeling sick, but tested negative and was cleared to return.

⋅ To make room for Ford on the 40-man roster, top starter Tyler Glasnow, sidelined with an elbow ligament tear and flexor strain, was shifted from the 10- to 60-day injured list, meaning he can’t return until Aug. 14. Cash said that change wasn’t reflective of any new information; Glasnow will see specialist Dr. Keith Meister on Friday.

⋅ Reliever Ryan Thompson, an Oregon native and resident, is “pumped” to play in Seattle, where he and his father made annual summer visits to see games. Now Thompson will have 20-30 friends and relatives in the stands watching him. Thompson said he “got kind of chills” walking into the stadium.

⋅ Thursday’s game was the first between the Rays and Mariners since Aug. 21, 2019.

⋅ Baltimore’s Pat Valaika’s request for a review of a June 11 scoring decision got him a hit, and an error taken away from Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, but two earned runs added.

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