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Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier, Drew Rasmussen poised for returns this week

Notes | There also is good news on the progress of Brandon Lowe and Pete Fairbanks.
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, pictured, and starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen are in line to rejoin the active roster during the Rays' upcoming series in Toronto.
Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, pictured, and starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen are in line to rejoin the active roster during the Rays' upcoming series in Toronto. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jun. 28|Updated Jun. 29

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are getting healthy.

Most relevant, outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and starting pitcher Drew Rasmussen are in line to rejoin the active roster during the upcoming series in Toronto.

Kiermaier, out since June 21 with left hip inflammation, played six innings and batted three times in a Florida Complex League game Tuesday. He said the cortisone shot he received helped and he expects to be reinstated when he is eligible on Friday, with just a minimum 10-day stay on the injured list.

“Felt really good, was excited to get back out there,” Kiermaier said. “Did my six innings, and I’m ready to be activated. I think Friday’s my day, so right at the 10 days, best-case scenario. I’m a happy man.”

Rasmussen, out since June 15 with a left hamstring strain, felt good after throwing live batting practice on Saturday. He is expected to be inserted into the rotation later this week, as the Rays play five games in four days against the Blue Jays, with a doubleheader Saturday.

There also was good news on reliever Pete Fairbanks and second baseman Brandon Lowe.

Fairbanks, out since the spring with a lat muscle strain, looked good in a live batting practice session Monday. He will throw in an FCL game on Thursday with a plan to then join Triple-A Durham for a multi-appearance rehab assignment. “(Monday) went very well,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Fastball velocity was in line with what we would expect. So, really good on his end.”

Lowe, out since mid-May with a stress reaction in his lower back, has progressed to taking batting practice but is still several weeks from returning.

“He looks good,” Cash said. “I think we’re all encouraged that he’s swinging the bat, and he’s pretty pain free. So we’ll probably put a calendar together (soon) with the next course of action. It’s still going to be some time.”

Among others, starter Luis Patino (oblique strain) will make at least a fourth rehab start this week for Durham. Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) posted a video on Instagram of his first throwing session from the front of the mound.

Starry-eyed

Starter Shane McClanahan seems like a sure thing to be chosen for the American League All-Star team. If so, he will have company in July 18-19 in Los Angeles as first assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval was chosen to work with the AL team. Sandoval, 56, is in his fifth year on the Rays staff, having spent the previous six with Durham.

Miscellany

Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener Wednesday as the Rays go with a bullpen-day arrangement. ... Ji-Man Choi was out of the lineup Tuesday and may be Wednesday as well due to left ankle discomfort related to his baserunning on Sunday. He was available for pinch-hit duty and not concerned about an extended absence. … Two Rays are expected to not make the trip to Toronto given the vaccination mandate; they can be replaced on the active roster. ... Tuesday’s game was the team-record 13th straight for the Rays that was decided by one or two runs, the longest such stretch in the majors since the Yankees went 16 in 2014. ... Infield prospect Curtis Mead was promoted from Double-A Montgomery to Durham, having hit .305 with 10 homers, 36 RBI and a .942 OPS for the Biscuits.

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