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Rays feeling good about Tyler Glasnow return, uncertain about Brandon Lowe

Notes | If all goes well with the right-hander after Friday’s start in Durham, look for him in Cleveland.
Brandon Lowe, sidelined with a back issue, received injections Tuesday, but the Rays are still unsure if he'll return to the lineup this season.
Brandon Lowe, sidelined with a back issue, received injections Tuesday, but the Rays are still unsure if he'll return to the lineup this season. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Sep. 20|Updated Sep. 21

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are closer to getting Tyler Glasnow back in the big leagues, possibly as soon as next week, but aren’t sure if Brandon Lowe will play again this season.

Glasnow is slated to make his fourth rehab start for Triple-A Durham on Friday, and if all goes well in the game and with his recovery, there is a plan to have him rejoin the team in Cleveland and pitch against the Guardians on Sept. 28 or 29.

The hard-throwing right-hander has been out since June 2021, undergoing Tommy John surgery and installation of a ligament brace in August 2021, and has looked good in all phases of his rehab.

The Rays plan to bring Glasnow back as a starter, although he may be limited to three to five innings initially, and likely will create a spot for him in the rotation. If he comes back in Cleveland, he could make two appearances before the start of the postseason.

Lowe, meanwhile, received injections in his ailing back Tuesday, with a plan to re-evaulate him later this week to see if he feels better and can make it back by the Oct. 5 end of the regular season.

“I’m hopeful,” manager Kevin Cash said.

Lowe missed two months earlier this season with low back issues, and had a recurrence in a similar area earlier this month and was placed back on the injured list Sept. 13.

“He’s going to have two days down — ‘down-down,’ not even come to the ballpark. And let’s see if we can get his back feeling better. The hope is this will do that. … We’ll know a lot, I think, in the next three or four days.”

When healthy, Lowe is one of the Rays’ top left-handed hitters, but has been limited this year to a .221 average, eight homers, 25 RBIs and a .691 OPS in 65 games.

Blanked

The Rays were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since Aug 11-12, 2017, against Cleveland. This was the ninth time they were shut out this season, their most since 2018 (also nine) and third time at home. In five of the shutouts, the Rays had three or fewer hits.

Tuesday, they were held hitless by Houston’s Cristian Javier until Christian Bethancourt singled with two outs in the fifth, and they didn’t get a runner to third base until the ninth (single, walk, walk).

Rays relievers posted four more zeroes, extending their scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings, and have allowed one run over their last 28. Their streak of consecutive batters retired, going back to the eighth inning Saturday, ended at 25 when Shawn Armstrong intentionally walked Kyle Tucker with one out in the fifth.

Minor matters

Low Class A Charleston beat Lynchburg (Guardians) 6-2 to sweep the best-of-three series and win a second straight Carolina League championship under manager Blake Butera. High A Bowling Green lost 13-6 to Aberdeen (Orioles) and Wednesday will play a deciding game for the South Atlantic League title.

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Miscellany

Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz didn’t play; Cash said it was a matter of “just trying to manage workloads” and both were available if needed, though neither was used. Arozarena missed the Saturday and Sunday games with an illness. ... Wander Franco reached base a career high-tying four times and has a seven-game hitting streak. ... Corey Kluber starts Wednesday, coming off back-to-back losses, allowing 10 runs, but feeling good health-wise as he makes his 29th start and crosses the 150-inning plateau, both for the first time since 2018. “I’m satisfied with getting to this point and still feeling like I’m in a good spot, not trying to struggle getting through these last few starts,” he said.

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