CLEVELAND — Jason Adam, the Rays’ most heavily-used reliever, is headed to the injured list due to a left oblique strain that he hopes will heal in time for him to return this season.
Adam underwent an MRI exam on Saturday and said the team was still waiting for the results, but that head athletic trainer Joe Benge was optimistic he wouldn’t miss much more than the minimum 15 days.
“Joe’s initial read is it should be fairly quick,” Adam said after Saturday’s 7-6, 11-inning loss. “It’ll take, obviously, at least the length of the IL stint, but my hope is not much longer than that. I don’t know. Hopefully the shorter the better. But I feel very confident that I’ll be back for the end of the season and for the playoffs.”
Adam, who had a 4-2, 2.57 record and 12 saves in a team-high 55 games, said he first felt “a little twinge” warming up Tuesday in Miami, then tried to play catch Wednesday. “It felt a little off so we shut it down, thinking it would just be a couple days thing,” he said.
But it still wasn’t better by Saturday, so they realized it was a bigger issue. “I fully expected to feel nothing but I still felt some pain,” he said. “So the best thing for myself and the team is to go on the IL.”
Kevin Cash will miss Terry Francona
If Guardians manager Terry Francona follows through on his strongly-hinted plans to retire after the season, Rays manager Kevin Cash will be among those who miss him the most.
Cash and Francona are extremely close, going back to Cash playing for Francona in Boston, and Francona hiring Cash to his first coaching job in Cleveland in 2013.
“It’s certainly been an honor for me,” Cash said. “(I’ve) enjoyed every minute of it. Our relationship is not going to change if it goes that way. …
“He’s one of the game’s biggest characters, personalities outside of a player in uniform. Certainly very special to me, but special to so many people, players, coaches. It feels like he’s got a hand in a lot of people’s careers and made quite the impression. Baseball will miss him.”
Cash and Francona not only have fun when they get together, but exchange friendly barbs through the media and occasionally pull pranks on each other at the stadiums.
Francona has been known to arrange scoreboard welcomes highlighting Cash’s worst stats; Cash in 2018 got ahold of Francona’s motorized scooter and parked it on the field during batting practice so it would get hit.
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Asked Friday what he thought Francona, 64, would do without baseball, Cash said, “He’s going to hopefully get healthy, stay healthy and go enjoy golf and grandkids. I know he enjoys that. None of that will actually happen, but ...”
Cash incorporates several elements of Francona’s style in the way he manages, and said Francona made a big impression on him as a player.
“Playing for him in Boston — I’ve said the story over and over — he treated the worst player on the roster the same way that he treated the best. And that goes a long way,” Cash said.
“And I think with all the pressures that he had in Boston with managing — whether it’s the media, the superstar roster — to be able to have fun and kind of let his guard down a little bit, I think that helped. And we just grew to have a really close relationship.”
Taj Bradley to start Sunday
Rookie right-hander Taj Bradley is being called up to start Sunday, adding a fifth member to the rotation as the Rays are in a stretch of 17 straight games. He will take Adam’s spot on the 28-man active roster.
Bradley, 22, had an impressive start to his big-league career when summoned in April as an injury replacement, but began to struggle in late June. He went 0-4, 9.12 over six starts, then was sent back to Triple A on July 31, the same day the Rays acquired Aaron Civale from Cleveland.
Bradley went 1-2, 2.91 in five starts for Durham, allowing four runs in his first and three total over his next four, striking out 23 over 19 1/3 innings.
The Rays on Saturday also added reliever Chris Devenski, the 32-year-old right-hander signed last week after his release by the Angels. He was activated from the bereavement list (following the recent death of his mother) and was put right to work, allowing the tying and winning runs in the 11th inning.
Devenski was 3-2, 5.08 in 29 appearances for the Angels this season, averaging a strikeout an inning. He last pitched in the majors July 15, when he allowed five runs and got only two outs (hiking his ERA from 3.82 to 5.08) and went on the injured list with a right hamstring strain. He spent the last few days in California attending funeral services for his mother, Shirley Johnson, who died Aug. 11.
Cash noted it “has been a challenging year for him for many reasons” and they are eager to see how the eight-year veteran can help.
“I’m glad that he’s healthy,” Cash said. “We’re excited that he can come in here. Let’s see what we’ve got with a pitcher that, as far as postseason playoff reps, he’s got as many as anybody in that bullpen down there. So nice addition on our part.”
Reliever Jalen Beeks, who worked an inning in Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Guardians, was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room.
Cash fired up
Cash was ejected in the fifth after a spirited and uncharacteristically demonstrative objection to home plate umpire CB Bucknor assessing a pitch clock violation on Rays starter Zack Littell even though Cleveland batter Andres Gimenez was not set in the box and engaged by the required eight-second mark.
Cash had his say repeatedly to Bucknor — who looked from TV and online pitch tracking to be having a bad night overall — and even stepped into the batter’s box to illustrate his point.
“Look, I don’t need to pile on,” Cash said. “We all saw what took place. Their hitter was not in the box at eight seconds and we got penalized for it.”
After Cash was tossed — for the second time this season and 15th of his nine-year managerial career — Littell hit Gimenez with his 85th and final pitch and was removed by bench coach Rodney Linares, who managed the rest of the game.
Sunday’s unusual 4:10 first pitch is an accommodation for the annual Cleveland National Air Show, which is held over nearby Lake Erie. The later start helps with traffic flow and FAA regulations. ... Catcher Christian Bethancourt is the 14th Ray to homer on his birthday, but the first to do so in consecutive seasons. The only other Ray to do it more than once is Carl Crawford, who had three birthday bashes. ... Including the 2022 Wild Card Series, the last eight Rays-Guardians games at Progressive Field have been decided by one run. ... Yandy Diaz’s homer on the fourth pitch of the game was his third leadoff homer this season and 10th of his career. ... Monday’s 4:10 p.m. start at Tropicana Field is due to the Labor Day holiday.
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