Ray set to return for finale in Milwaukee

August 24th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The D-backs are gearing up for a late postseason push, and having their ace, , down the stretch is going to provide a big boost.

Arizona announced prior to Saturday's game against the Brewers that Ray, who was placed on the 10-day injured list on Aug. 15 with back spasms, will return when he's eligible to do so on Sunday to face the Brewers at Miller Park.

Prior to Friday's loss to the Brewers, Ray threw a successful bullpen session that was seen as the final hurdle before a potential return.

“It was 'a see how it felt' [thing] today. Get back on a normal schedule as far as a bullpen session before a game,” Ray said. “Felt like [the ball] was coming out better than it was before I went on the injured list. Feeling pretty confident that I can come back and be 100 percent healthy.”

“Robby threw the ball extremely well,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I went down there and watched. The grunts got louder and more aggressive as his bullpen went deeper.”

“He’s on his eighth day right now. He hasn’t missed a lot of time," Lovullo added. "We might cap [his pitch count] at some number, but we feel like it’s going to be close to what he was throwing before. So it should be somewhere close to the 90-100 count.”

The left-hander is confident that the team’s program for his back will keep him healthy for the rest of the season and hopes he can continue to be a workhorse for the club both down the stretch and in the future. Ray has made 26 starts this season, and if he returns as scheduled and stays healthy the rest of the season, he could start 30 games in a season for the second time in his career.

“I think there’s something to say about making 30 starts," Ray said. "I know the way different teams structure it, they have the rotating 10-day [IL]. It doesn’t happen as often, but I still think there’s something to say about the guys that make 34 or 35 starts a year -- the consistency of being there every five days."