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Feeling 'great,' Ray to face Mets on Thursday

D-backs lefty returning less than month after liner struck him in head
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

MINNEAPOLIS -- Robbie Ray will return to the D-backs' rotation Thursday against the Mets at Citi Field, one day shy of four weeks after he was struck in the head by a 108-mph line drive.

Ray made a rehab start for Class A Visalia and allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings while striking out 11 and throwing 80 pitches.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Robbie Ray will return to the D-backs' rotation Thursday against the Mets at Citi Field, one day shy of four weeks after he was struck in the head by a 108-mph line drive.

Ray made a rehab start for Class A Visalia and allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings while striking out 11 and throwing 80 pitches.

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"Felt good," Ray said. "I was really pleased with how all of my pitches felt, and just being able to get back on the mound in a competitive baseball game felt really good."

More important, Ray said he did not feel any apprehension about getting hit with a comebacker.

"No," Ray said. "I had a ball come back pretty close, I want to say maybe towards the shortstop and I fell off to that side and it came pretty close to me, but no issue with that. Didn't really even flinch. So there were really no problems."

Ray was struck on the left side of his head by a line drive July 28 and suffered a concussion while receiving three staples to close the wound.

Despite that, he will return less than a month later.

"Honestly it looked a lot worse than it was," Ray said. "I never really felt that bad, never had too many symptoms, which was a blessing. Where it hit me, no fracture, no bleeding, so just throughout that whole process, it was kind of amazing that nothing worse came out of it. I feel great and just looking forward to going back out there and doing my job."

Ray did lobby to start in the big leagues rather than for Visalia, but in the end, he wanted to make sure he was fully ready to compete before pitching in the Majors.

The D-backs' rotation for the four-game series with the Mets will be Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley and Ray.

One of the reasons Ray is pitching the series finale is because manager Torey Lovullo wanted to split up him and Corbin, who are both left-handed.

"I feel like Patrick has been throwing the ball very, very well, and we wanted to keep him on turn," Lovullo said.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Robbie Ray