'Positive news' as Rays' injured trio works out

TB must set roster for Wild Card Series by Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET

September 29th, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- Many of the Rays’ roster decisions for their American League Wild Card Series matchup against the Blue Jays will depend on the health of , and . On Monday, the trio made their final case to show that they’re healthy enough for the postseason.

Díaz (right hamstring strain) and Choi (left hamstring strain) went through infield drills at Tropicana Field, and both seemed to be moving well defensively. Choi made a few plays ranging to his right, while Díaz made several plays as he charged at the ball. The duo also took batting practice against pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, journeyman Sean Gilmartin and Alvarado.

Alvarado (left shoulder inflammation) faced Choi, Díaz and Brian O’Grady. The left-hander threw about 25 pitches, most of them in the strike zone. The Rays have until 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday to submit their roster, and they’re planning on thinking through their options until the end.

“Positive news on all of them,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We still have time, and we’ll buy time to make sure that we’re doing right by the decision, and the roster, by 10 a.m.”

Though it appears that Choi and Díaz are nearing a return, it remains to be seen how the Rays could utilize the two infielders. Díaz set the bar high by hitting two home runs in Tampa Bay's 2019 AL Wild Card Game win over Oakland after missing more a month with an injury. He’s in the same situation now, but it's not clear whether he's healthy enough to play third base or if he'd be restricted to designated hitter.

If both Choi and Díaz are only available to DH, the Rays will have an interesting decision. They could include both players on the roster because of their bats, but that would hurt their defensive flexibility, which has been a big part of their success this season.

Other workout news
• Outfielders Manuel Margot and Brett Phillips have been dealing with some soreness, but the two outfielders are expected to be options for the postseason roster. However, that decision will come down to Tuesday. Phillips left Sunday’s regular-season finale as a precaution due to left hamstring tightness, while Margot was an early scratch from that game due to soreness on his left foot, which he fouled a pitch off of Saturday.

Margot took batting practice on Monday. Phillips did not as Cash and the Rays wanted to give him another day off.

• Outfielder Austin Meadows was out on the field Monday as he played light catch, ran on the treadmill down the right-field line and shagged some balls during BP. He has been sidelined since Sept. 17 with a Grade 2 left oblique strain and still remains at least a few weeks away from potentially returning to games.

• Most of the Rays’ 40-man postseason player pool took part in Monday’s workout, including top prospects Wander Franco, Vidal Bruján and Ronaldo Hernández. Franco fielded grounders at shortstop and third base, while Brujan spent most of the day manning second. Hernandez was the catcher for Honeywell’s BP session.