UPDATE: The Rays got one of their two injured outfielders back for the Wild Card Series against Texas, with Jose Siri included on the 26-man roster and Luke Raley left off.
DEVELOPING: ST. PETERSBURG — Centerfielder Jose Siri tested his fractured right hand in an extensive workout Monday and pronounced himself ready to participate in the American League Wild Card Series against Texas that starts Tuesday.
“I feel like I can play, I feel like I can hit, I think I can do a little bit of everything,” said Siri, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “If it was my decision I would play, but it isn’t. But I do feel good and I am ready to play.”
Though that final decision won’t be made until just prior to Tuesday’s 10 a.m. deadline to submit a 26-man roster, Siri’s bosses are expected to agree and he seems likely to be in the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch Sept. 11.
Outfielder/DH Luke Raley, sidelined with a cervical strain as the result of a freak Sept. 16 collision during batting practice, also felt good after his workout and said he was “ready to go.”
But Raley is not as likely to be activated. The Rays will want to be sure he is back to full strength and available daily. He initially returned to action Sept. 20, but lasted only two swings, saying afterward his left arm felt numb and lacked strength. He received an injection and was placed on the injured list.
Manager Kevin Cash said after live batting practice, but before the full-squad workout, that both looked good.
“I was excited that they both looked that they’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Very encouraged by the way they felt and if it continues that way through the rest of the workout, we’ll have some decisions to discuss overnight for sure.”
With the rosters able to be re-set for each round of the playoffs, the Rays are likely to go with 11 pitchers and 15 position players for the best-of-three series.
To trim the pitching staff, rookie starter Taj Bradley will be left off the roster, as will one from the group of Chris Devenski, Kevin Kelly and Andrew Kittredge.
The makeup of the 15 position players is keyed to the status of Siri and Raley, but will include 20-year-old rookie Junior Caminero, along with two other young infielders, Jonathan Aranda and Curtis Mead. If Siri is on the roster and Raley is not, that also should leave room for outfielder Raimel Tapia and infielder Osleivis Basabe. Another option would be to add Francisco Mejia as a third catcher.
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Speedy veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton, who signed a minor-league contract last month, will join the team for workouts at Tropicana Field with the potential to be added to the roster if the Rays advance.
There’s a lot about the Rangers that is obvious, such as the potency of their offense, which led the AL in runs (881), average (.263) and OPS (.789), and shared the top spot in homers (233).
Adolis Garcia has a ton of power; Corey Seager is one of the game’s best hitters (and tormented the Rays in the 2020 World Series as a Dodger, hitting .400 with a 1.256 OPS); and Marcus Semien is a constant threat.
And there are clear questions about the Rangers’ pitching, especially a bullpen that ranks 24th in the majors with a 4.77 ERA and has converted only 30 of 63 saves.
Despite the unexpected matchup with the Rangers, as a result of them blowing their AL West lead, and not having faced them since mid-July, the Rays feel they have a good handle due to the work of scouts Bobby Heck and Mike Brown.
“The fact that we were unlikely to play Texas meant their work was more important, because we spent most of our mental power on Toronto,” general manager Peter Bendix said. “When it flipped we weren’t behind on anything because of the work that they did. Their work was the most important because we had the least familiarity with them.”
Montgomery on the mark
Jordan Montgomery knows what he is in for going into Tropicana Field and facing the Rays. The Rangers’ Game 1 starter has plenty of experience pitching there.
“I mean, they’re a good team,” the lefty said Monday. “So you kind of just got to go out there with a game plan and try and execute.”
Montgomery broke into the big leagues with the Yankees and was a veteran of battles with Tampa Bay. He’s faced the Rays 14 times, including one start in the 2020 playoffs. He has a 5.12 career ERA against Tampa Bay, but is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in the Trop.
The Rays have hit left-handers well this season with a team .270 batting average and .784 OPS against them.
The Rays will wear their Devil Rays throwback jerseys for Tuesday’s opener. … With Tyler Glasnow starting the opener and Zach Eflin set for Game 2, the Rays are not naming a starter yet for a potential Game 3, with Aaron Civale among the options. … Caminero was named Minor League Baseball’s Breakout Player of the Year, chosen over Cubs pitcher Cade Horton and Brewers pitcher Jacob Misiorowski. … Veteran reliever Erasmo Ramirez, who was designated for assignment Saturday, cleared waivers and will stay with the Rays, joining a group of players working out at the Sarasota complex to stay ready if needed. … There will be no pre- or post-game postseason TV shows on Bally Sports Sun as in previous years, part of a national Bally cutback.
Staff writer Kristie Ackert contributed to this report.
Yandy Diaz, 1B
Randy Arozarena, LF
Harold Ramirez, DH
Isaac Paredes, 3B
Jose Siri, CF
Curtis Mead, 2B
Manuel Margot, RF
Taylor Walls, SS
Rene Pinto, C
Tyler Glasnow, RHP
Marcus Semien, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Mitch Garver, DH
Adolis Garcia, Rf
Nathaniel Lowe, 1B
Josh Jung, 3B
Jonah Heim, C
Leody Taveras, CF
Evan Carter, LF
Jordan Montgomery, LHP
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