BALTIMORE — Pete Fairbanks was understandably happy to be back in the Rays bullpen after right-shoulder inflammation sidelined him for a month, which was longer than expected.
“I was hoping that it was going to be just a cortisone (shot) and bounce-back thing, and it ended up taking a little bit longer to see some benefit from that and some anti-inflammatories to really let everything calm down,” Fairbanks said Friday.
“But as long as I was back at some point before the year ended, I was going to be all right with that. So definitely thankful that it did not take that entire time, but it was a little frustrating to be out for longer than I was hoping.”
Sitting out is often tough for injured players.
Fairbanks said the home games weren’t too bad, as he usually watched from the dugout or the clubhouse, sipping on peach-flavored hot green tea.
Watching when the team was on the road was okay until pitcher Ryan Yarbrough tested positive for COVID-19 and had to return home to be quarantined and not accompany the club to Boston and Minnesota on Aug. 10-15.
Why? We’ll let Fairbanks explain.
“We mooch off of his AT&T TV (account) to watch the games,” Fairbanks said. “It’s not password limited, but I think that the maximum amount of devices that could be used were being used. Therefore, as the No. 1 moocher, we were the first family out.”
Fairbanks has been sidelined twice this season with shoulder injuries but said he was confident he was on a training program that should alleviate any additional issues. “Anything that is inflammation-related or muscular, you’re going to deal with some aspect of soreness,” he said. “But now I feel like I’m in a very good place throwing the ball and feeling good while I’m doing it.”
Fairbanks made two one-inning rehab outings for Triple-A Durham. Rays manager Kevin Cash said initially they likely will limit his workload.
More medical matters: Luplow, Thompson, Wisler
Outfielder/infielder Jordan Luplow joined the team for pregame work Friday and is set to be activated Saturday, as reliever Chris Mazza was optioned to Durham after the game. Luplow has been out since Aug. 18 with a left-ankle strain and played one rehab game. … Right-hander Ryan Thompson, rehabbing shoulder inflammation at Durham, might miss a couple of days after being hit on the right leg by a comebacker Wednesday. … Matt Wisler’s hoped-for return this weekend from right middle-finger inflammation has been pushed back to next week. “Not a setback whatsoever but just want to make sure that he feels 100 percent before we activate him,” Cash said. … Relievers J.P. Feyereisen (shoulder) and Nick Anderson (elbow) will continue to rehab at Durham, with Feyereisen closer to a return.
• With a first-inning walk, rookie Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 27 games, matching Tigers great Al Kaline for third longest in American League history and eighth overall for players 20 and younger.
• Collin McHugh was “pretty upset” and “mad” Wednesday after giving up an eighth-inning, tying homer, even more so that it was his first earned run allowed since May, a span of 33⅔ innings. That is until pitching coach Kyle Snyder approached: “He was like, ‘Did you think you weren’t going to give up any more runs ever again?’ ”
• Luis Patino tentatively is slated to open the four-game series against the Red Sox that starts Monday at Tropicana Field, with Ryan Yarbrough, Drew Rasmusssen and Shane McClanahan to follow.
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