ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays may be a little short on left-handed power for at least the next couple of days.
Before Thursday’s 5-4 walkoff win over the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said the team would be without outfielder/first baseman Luke Raley for at least a few days and possibly the rest of the regular season or more due to a neck issue stemming from a freak accident during batting practice Saturday in Baltimore.
“He’s going to miss some time,” Cash said. A decision is pending on whether to place Raley on the 10-day injured list.
Brandon Lowe, the Rays’ slugging second baseman, is considered “day to day” after leaving Thursday’s game with a very sore and swollen right knee after fouling a ball off of it. He was unsure how long it will be an issue.
“We’ll find out,” Lowe said. “It’s just swollen and hurts. I have no idea, but hands on they said they felt good about it. So see what (Friday) brings.”
The Rays escaped another injury concern when starting pitcher Zach Eflin was struck on the outside of his right thigh by a 105.4 mph liner off the bat of Jared Walsh in the fourth.
“It’s fine,” Eflin said. “It hit me in a really good spot. It was just all pretty much all fat. Whatever fat I have in my legs — they’re sticks — but it missed the bone and missed everything. So, I didn’t really feel it much.”
Eflin was more upset about not making the play, as the ball caromed away, and more unsettled than hurt, as he allowed the next three Angels to reach base and two to score. But he stayed in to work five innings, striking out 10 (his second-most this season) though needing 92 pitches to get there.
Raley was first injured Saturday in a freak collision with Spanish-language interpreter Manny Navarro while chasing a ball during batting practice. He had a stiff neck, among other issues that were addressed through rest and treatment.
Raley said he felt better by Tuesday and returned to action as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday. But he showed noticeable discomfort on his second, and final swing, saying afterward his left arm felt numb and lacked strength.
That led to an MRI Thursday morning and diagnosis of a further, unspecified issue with Raley’s neck.
“He’s pretty sore,” Cash said, “I don’t have an exact timeline yet, but he’ll probably be shut down for at least a couple of days.”
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Whether the Rays place Raley on the injured list, keeping him out until at least the Oct. 1 regular-season finale, will depend on when they think he might be ready versus the benefits of replacing him on the roster.
“We’re in a unique situation with 10 days left,” Cash said, “so I don’t know how we’ll play it.”
More medical matters
Reliever Jason Adam, who had been out since late August with an oblique strain, was activated off the injured list, with lefty Jalen Beeks sent down. “We missed (Adam) while he was gone,” Cash said. “He’s such a huge part to our bullpen. So, it’s nice to have him back.” ... Centerfielder Jose Siri had a scan on the right hand he fractured Sept. 11. Cash said “everything looked good,” but there is no update to the timetable, which likely has Siri out through at least the end of the regular season.
The Rays wrap up their regular-season home schedule this weekend against the Blue Jays, then play them the final weekend in Toronto. Potentially, they could face them again in the best-of-three Wild Card Series Oct. 3-5 at Tropicana Field. “We know they’re a good team,” said Cash, whose team leads the season series 4-3. ... Harold Ramirez logged his 11th pinch hit of the season, surpassing Travis Lee (2005) and Brandon Guyer (2015) for most in a season in franchise history.
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