Morton throws 'encouraging' bullpen session

Kiermaier OK after HBP; Chirinos' TJ surgery successful

August 26th, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte, Fla., which is another good step in getting the right-hander back in the rotation.

“It went well, that’s encouraging,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “We’ll see how he gets through the rest of the day. He’s working out right now. He’s getting closer.”

Cash said the next step for Morton would be either another bullpen session or a live batting practice in Port Charlotte. Because Morton would likely need a day or two of rest before moving on to the next step, and again afterward, it’s unclear if he will be available at some point during the road trip that begins on Friday against the Marlins and ends next Wednesday against the Yankees.

When Morton returns, the Rays will be careful with his workload, and he will certainly be on a pitch and innings count. He turns 37 in November, and the goal for Tampa Bay is to try and have him fully healthy for the postseason push.

“It’s fair to assume that Charlie won’t come back and be built up to go 90 pitches,” Cash said. “We’ll take the buildup, because his pitches are so good. We’ll take it here at this level. We’re just going to have to manage it correctly to where he can continue his buildup throughout the month of September.”

Kiermaier update
, who was removed from Monday’s game with right foot discomfort, said ahead of Tuesday's game that he was taken out as a precaution. He entered the series-opening 4-2 win over the Orioles in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement and went 0-for-1 at the plate.

Kiermaier added that he felt his foot tighten up after playing defense in the eighth inning and that it was in “his best interest and the team’s best interest” for him to get off his feet for the final two innings. His X-rays came back negative on Monday.

Other injury news
• On Tuesday, Rays righty Yonny Chirinos underwent successful Tommy John surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The recovery will sideline Chirinos until the 2022 season.

• Cash also said that relievers Chaz Roe and Nick Anderson are “doing well,” and they’re still hopeful and optimistic that their stints on the injury list will be short. Both Roe and Anderson are eligible to return on Sunday.

Roster move
The Rays outrighted left-hander Sean Gilmartin to the alternate training site on Tuesday, adding him back to the 60-man player pool. Gilmartin, who was designated for assignment for the second time on Sunday, has an 8.31 ERA in two appearances with Tampa Bay this season.