ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have been unable to provide much detail on why Ryan Yarbrough was placed on the COVID-19-related injured list Aug. 10, or where and how he spent the down time.
But they were quite open about what it will mean to have him back on the mound, with the lanky lefty slated to follow opener Louis Head and work bulk innings Wednesday against the Orioles.
“Very welcome (news),” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Tuesday’s 10-0 win. “We have missed him. He missed one start, but we’re fortunate that it’s only one.”
Yarbrough last pitched Aug. 6 in Baltimore and whatever led to him being sidelined — close contact, symptoms, positive test or something else — occurred shortly thereafter. He did not accompany the team to Boston after the Aug. 8 game. Yarbrough is among the 85-plus percent of Rays players, coaches and traveling staff who are vaccinated.
“He’s fine,” Cash said. “He’s doing well. ... He’s been shut down for a little bit but he was able to keep throwing and then he kind of ramped it up over the last couple days.”
Cash said Yarbrough was able to play catch, threw into a net and had a full bullpen session somewhere “off site” from Tropicana Field. Yarbrough was at the Trop and on the field playing catch early Tuesday, but not available to reporters.
Yarbrough, 29, is 6-4, 4.76 overall in 22 games (17 starts). Cash indicated they expect a normal workload for him, likely five to six innings.
“(He) provides consistent work,” Cash said. “It’s a consistent effort. And when he’s right, he can really navigate himself through a lineup and then keep an opposing lineup fairly quiet to give us a chance to win.”
With Yarbrough returning, top starter Shane McClanahan will start Thursday’s series finale against the Orioles. That leaves the Rays lined up to host the Central-leading White Sox with struggling Michael Wacha working Friday, Luis Patino on Saturday and Josh Fleming, in some role, Sunday.
The Rays will have to make room for Yarbrough on both the 40- and 26-man rosters.
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