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Injured Rays trio continue to make strides

@juanctoribio
August 6, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays All-Star second baseman Brandon Lowe, who has been sidelined since July 3 with a bruised right shin, took another step in the right direction on Tuesday. Lowe took batting practice on the field on Monday and took ground balls at full speed on Tuesday. Lowe, who

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays All-Star second baseman Brandon Lowe, who has been sidelined since July 3 with a bruised right shin, took another step in the right direction on Tuesday.

Lowe took batting practice on the field on Monday and took ground balls at full speed on Tuesday. Lowe, who has said that the cortisone shot he received last week “helped a ton,” is still unsure when he’ll get into rehab games. But Tuesday was another “big day” in his recovery.

“For Brandon [on Tuesday], he said that it was probably the biggest step in the right direction and said he kind of felt like an athlete again, to be able to move again and be mobile taking ground balls,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The hitting, he put a good tape job on it, and it seemed to not affect him hitting.”

Yandy Díaz ran on the treadmill for the third consecutive day and took ground balls on the field for the first time since suffering a left foot contusion on July 22. Diaz still needs to clear some hurdles before he’s able to take batting practice.

“Hopefully we can get some speed here now with both of them,” Cash said.

Joey Wendle also took ground balls for the first time since landing on the injured list with right wrist inflammation on July 31. Tests on Wendle's wrist on Sunday came back clean, but it's still unclear how much longer he'll be out.

Players’ Weekend nicknames
Players’ Weekend will return this season from Aug. 23-25, and the Rays will have some interesting nicknames on the backs of their jerseys.

Pitcher Tyler Glasnow will go with “Baby Giraffe” after going with “Mini Horse” last season. Glasnow, who is 6-foot-8, won’t be able to wear the uniform as he’s still sidelined with a right forearm strain, but he was glad to see the nickname make it onto the jersey.

“When I first got into pro ball, I was just the goofiest thing alive,” Glasnow said. “I was growing into myself, I was like 180 pounds and I was 6-foot-6. I was pretty athletic and could run well, and people just told me, ‘Dude, you’re a baby giraffe,’ and I thought it was the funniest thing.”

Complete list of Players' Weekend nicknames

Pirates starter Jameson Taillon was the first person to call Glasnow by the nickname, which he believes still applies.

“I got called Mini Horse and Baby Giraffe. They were both my favorite nicknames. If I had to choose one, I think Baby Giraffe is the more accurate one.”

Diaz went with “Arañita Diaz,” which is what his father, Jorge Diaz, was called when he played professional baseball. "Arañita" translates to "Spider."

“They called him that because he was fast,” Diaz said. “And since I was his son, people used to call me that when I was a little kid.”

Guillermo Heredia also decided to honor his father -- Guillermo Heredia Sr., who played professionally in Cuba -- with “El Conde" ("The Count"), his father's nickname as a player. Emilio Pagán went with “EMILIOOOO,” a reference to the movie "A Night at the Roxbury." He said he instructed MLB to add as many O’s to his name as possible, which resulted in four.

As for Michael Brosseau, he went with “Frenchy” because that was the nickname given to him by first-base coach Ozzie Timmons, who struggled to pronounce Brosseau’s last name.

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.