BOSTON — Needing, once again, to add a fresh arm to their pitching staff, the Rays sent down Ryan Yarbrough and called up lefty Garrett Cleavinger, who made an impressive debut.
Yarbrough was somewhat a victim of circumstances.
He pitched Friday, and not well, throwing 81 pitches over 3 1/3 innings, making him unavailable for the next several days.
With two off days coming in a four-day stretch, the Rays have some flexibility to fill the slot he has held in the rotation, either starting or working behind an opener.
And he has options to be sent back to the minors, which most of the current relievers don’t, or wouldn’t be considered for a demotion.
“A tough decision and certainly discussion,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I think ‘Yarbs’ from the All-Star break has really helped us and put us in position to win many games. (Friday) night was a tough outing, even though I think it was more of a compliment to the Red Sox — he threw strikes.
“But we’re in a spot where we’ve got to get some pitching here to help, whether it’s our starters or certainly our bullpen guys who have been worked pretty heavily as of late.”
Cleavinger, 28, was acquired from the Dodgers in an Aug. 1 trade and has been pitching well at Triple-A Durham. He was sharp Saturday, working two 1-2-3 innings, striking out three, with 18 of his 21 pitches for strikes.
“Very impressed,” Cash said. “Big fastball, big slider, and the strike-throwing was probably the most impressive.”
The Rays will see how Sunday’s game goes in deciding how to set up their rotation beyond Tuesday, when Shane McClanahan pitches in Miami. If they keep all four starters in order around the off days, they could get to Sept. 6 before needing to fill a spot. But there could be some other options, either a bullpen day or a callup.
Brandon Lowe feeling better
Second baseman Brandon Lowe said his right elbow felt better after being hit just above the bone Friday by a 94-mph pitch from Michael Wacha, a 2021 Rays teammate. Lowe was sore and swollen and had to leave the game because he was afraid the discomfort would affect this throwing. But he was in good spirits Saturday based on his exchange with Wacha.
“They’re expecting a child pretty soon. We got them a gift (Friday), I was able to bring it over to him,” Lowe said. “I texted him (after the game), I was like, ‘Hey man, if you didn’t like the gift, it’s fine. You could have said something.’”
Lowe was said to be available to pinch-hit Saturday but wasn’t used; lefties David Peralta and Ji-Man Choi were.
The Rays were held to one or no runs for the 19th time. ... Catcher Christian Bethancourt threw out his seventh runner in 15 base-stealing attempts. ... The Florida Complex League Rays walked off the Yankees 7-6 to force a third and deciding league championship game noon Sunday in Port Charlotte (free admission). … JP Feyereisen (shoulder) was to throw the first of several live batting practices Saturday at Durham; Tyler Glasnow will throw one Sunday, then possibly advance to rehab games. … Wander Franco (right hand) is continuing workouts at Tropicana FIeld with no set date to resume playing rehab games. ... Josh Fleming (oblique) worked two innings for Durham on Saturday. ... Outfielder Roman Quinn (left knee) should be ready for rehab games this week. ... Matt Wisler (neck strain) made a second rehab appearance for Durham on Friday with more needed.
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