NEW YORK — The Rays appeared to avoid another injury hit to one of their top offensive players with word Monday that corner infielder Yandy Diaz should be okay in the next couple days and won’t need a stint on the injured list.
Diaz left Sunday’s game in the first inning with what the team called left groin tightness and underwent an MRI on Monday morning. Results apparently were encouraging enough that the Rays consider him day-to-day. On Tuesday they open a series against the Mets and a stretch of 16 consecutive days of games.
Diaz is a key piece of their lineup, hitting .321 with a team co-leading 10 homers, 24 RBIs, .429 on-base percentage (second in the majors) and 1.022 OPS. Plus, he is on a career high-matching 12-game hitting streak.
The Rays on Monday did, as expected, activate high-leverage reliever Pete Fairbanks, who has been on the injured list since April 30 due to forearm inflammation near his wrist.
He last pitched April 28, when he left the game in Chicago due to a recurrence of symptoms from Reynaud’s syndrome, which affects blood flow to his fingers in cold weather. His return should add some welcomed stability and order to the bullpen.
Chris Muller, added to the 40-man roster and called up Friday, was optioned to Triple A without making his debut.
Meet the Mets, greet the Mets
• Though the Mets are off to a slow start at 20-21 (entering Monday) despite a payroll of around $346 million — more than four times greater than the Rays’ — manager Kevin Cash expects a challenging series from Buck Showalter’s bunch.
“They’re a super talented team,” he said. “Buck, obviously, is as good a manager as there is in the game. And we know that we’re leaving one pretty high-profile environment into another. ... It’s not a team that we see very much but it’ll be exciting to go compete against them.”
• Lefty reliever Brooks Raley, who the Rays signed to a multi-year deal in November 2021 and traded to the Mets after one season, was activated Sunday following an injured list stint for elbow inflammation. Other ex-Rays with the Mets who are active include Tommy Pham, David Robertson, Tommy Hunter and Michael Perez.
• Before being promoted from the Rays’ head of baseball development to general manager in December 2021, Peter Bendix was being publicly speculated on — and seemingly internally considered — as a candidate to run the Mets. “I’m very happy to be a Ray, and I have the best job in the world,” Bendix said.
• Rays outfielder Josh Lowe is friends and winter workout partners with Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor around their Orlando-area homes, and is eager to face off this week. “I’m very excited for that,” Lowe said. “We talked about it a bunch in the offseason, so we’ll have a good time.”
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Third base coach Brady Williams is going to hear for a while about an odd sequence in Sunday’s game. With Taylor Walls racing to third after hitting a ball off the right-centerfield wall, Williams was getting in position to give a slide sign when he was run into, and knocked over, by Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt, who was seeking to back up the throw.
“I told him as soon as I got up he’s got to in the weight room and do some legs (work),” Walls said. “... He needs to stand his ground a little firmer next time.”
Lefty Jalen Beeks will be the opener on Tuesday, with right-hander Yonny Chirinos expected to work bulk innings. … Tyler Glasnow will resume his rehab assignment Tuesday night for Triple-A Durham, slated to throw four innings and/or 60-65 pitches. He left his May 10 outing after one inning when he felt tightness near the area of the left oblique strain that has sidelined him since Feb. 27, but an MRI showed no new injury and he was given the okay to resume throwing. He is expected to make one or two more rehab outings after Tuesday. … The Rays have yet to announce a starter for Wednesday, with the decision on who replaces injured Drew Rasmussen in the rotation expected to be between Taj Bradley (who is more rested, having thrown 67 pitches over 3 1/3 innings Thursday) and Cooper Criswell (who threw 74 over four innings Saturday).
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