The Rays have made it clear that their main goal is to win the World Series. In order to accomplish that goal, however, Tampa Bay hopes to enter the postseason as healthy as possible.
The Rays have lost five pitchers for the season, but they’re still hopeful that they’ll have reliever José Alvarado and infielders Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Díaz at some point during the postseason. All three players have been progressing from their injuries and they’re scheduled to go through a live batting practice session on Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Manager Kevin Cash said Alvarado is scheduled to throw 20-25 pitches, while Choi and Díaz will get the majority of the at-bats during the session. Choi and Díaz, who are both recovering from hamstring strains, will also field “right-at-them ground balls” on Thursday.
“[They won’t be] moving around too much,” Cash said. “Just see how their hamstrings feel in the position of fielding a ground ball and then coming up and making a throw out of that.”
Alvarado, who is on the 45-day injured list, won’t be eligible to be activated during the regular season, but the left-hander would be available for the Wild Card Series if the team believes he’s healthy and efficient with his pitches. When right, Alvarado can be a big piece in the Tampa Bay bullpen, but he has struggled with his command over the last two seasons.
As for Díaz and Choi, the Rays would take any production out of them, especially with a struggling offense. Nate Lowe has played well in Choi’s absence, but Díaz’s bat has been difficult to replace, especially against left-handed pitching.
With Wild Card Series rosters due on Monday, it appears the Rays have some decisions to make over the next couple of days.
“I don’t know if we have time on our side,” Cash said. “But it does seem like they are making pretty good progress to force us to make some decisions here at the end of the season.”
Mike Brosseau hasn’t made an appearance since Saturday against the Orioles, and Cash said it had to do with the infielder dealing with some oblique tightness. Cash added that the team wanted to give Brosseau a few days off, but that he was available off the bench against the Mets on Wednesday.