ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays sent impressive rookie starter Taj Bradley back to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday.
Bradley, 22, made three solid starts for the Rays, the most recent on Monday night vs. Houston. He posted a 3-0 record with a 3.52 ERA and struck out at least six in each outing.
Bradley was summoned in mid-April after Zach Eflin was sidelined with a back issue for what was supposed to be a one-game cameo, as he was lined up to start at Durham that day. But when starter Jeffrey Springs was hurt in his next start, Bradley was recalled and made two more appearances.
Though Bradley obviously pitched well, by sending him down the Rays can try to further his development in other areas, specifically by transitioning him to a five-day schedule that is standard in the majors.
He has been pitching on a six-day routine, as many of their minor-leaguers do.
“He has pitched very, very well,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Applaud Taj for just kind of maturity beyond his years. But there are some things that still need to take place within his career development. I’m not talking about pitching because he showed that he can pitch, he can execute, all those things.
“(A five-day pitching schedule) is something that we’re going to prioritize getting him back down there,” Cash added. “Let’s make sure that he’s pitching a couple turns on normal rest and then see where it goes from that.”
Sending down Bradley also allows the Rays to give more opportunity to two pitchers who were ahead of him in the pecking order: Josh Fleming, who will work in some role Wednesday, and Yonny Chirinos, who will slot into Bradley’s turn in the rotation on Saturday.
Cash said they are excited to see Chirinos, who worked three perfect innings Sunday against the White Sox.
“That’s as good of stuff as we’ve seen from him since coming back from injury (last year after an extended absence),” Cash said.
They also feel Fleming is better equipped to face right-handers with further development of his sweeping breaking ball. “He’s shown the ability to kind of mix a little bit with the breaking ball that we’re excited about,” Cash said.
To replace Bradley on the active roster, the Rays called up reliever Heath Hembree, a 34-year-old who has pitched parts of 10 seasons with seven teams, most recently the Pirates and Dodgers in 2022. Hembree also will be added to the 40-man roster, which had an open spot.
In other moves, the Rays activated centerfielder Jose Siri, out since April 7 with a right hamstring strain, from the injured list and optioned Vidal Brujan to Triple-A.
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Siri went 0-for-2 with a walk in Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. Cash said he looked healthy in the field.
Glasnow back on the bump
It may have just been one simulated inning Monday afternoon, but it meant a big step forward for Tyler Glasnow. The Rays’ right-hander felt fine after facing hitters for the first time since straining his oblique early in spring training.
“Good. It’s been a while,” Glasnow said before Tuesday night’s game. “I think it was a great start. So it was good to get back and like, do that routine again and get on the mound. It’s kind of just getting back out there for the first time.”
Glasnow is scheduled to throw two simulated innings Saturday.
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