Notes: Castillo returns; Meadows update
ST. PETERSBURG -- Before Monday’s game against the Braves, the Rays activated reliever Diego Castillo from the paternity list and optioned infielder Daniel Robertson to the alternate training site in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Castillo was placed on the paternity list just hours before the Opening Day matchup against the Blue Jays on Friday. He welcomed the birth of his child over the weekend and felt ready to return to the club on Monday. He celebrated his new arrival with a perfect fifth inning during Monday's 14-5 win over the Braves, fanning two to contribute to the Rays' record-breaking 19-strikeout performance.
Castillo made 65 appearances for the Rays last season, finishing with a 3.41 ERA. The right-hander struck out 81 over 68 2/3 innings. He attended most of the voluntary workouts in June and was one of the standouts during Summer Camp.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said Castillo will slot right back into the back end of the Tampa Bay bullpen.
“Excited to have him back,” Cash said. “He was such a big part of our bullpen last year, and he’s going to be a big part this year. The last two years, he has been such a mainstay with us and his ability to come in and overpower any part of the lineup with the big sinker that he throws, and then kind of that wipeout breaking ball.”
There’s still no timetable for his return, but Austin Meadows continued his rehab process on Monday at the Rays’ alternate training site in Port Charlotte. Meadows, who missed the majority of Summer Camp due to a positive COVID-19 test, continues to work on his conditioning, acknowledging that he has some catching up to do before being reinstated on the active roster.
“He’s doing well,” Cash said. “Felt good yesterday. Acknowledged again that it was hot. I’m sure I’m going to hear that from him every single day. He’s in Port Charlotte, and we know how it is here in the Bay Area.”
Cash added that the expectation is for Meadows to go through a rehab process, and that the club won’t reinstate the outfielder until he feels 100 percent ready to return.
“He was shut down for quite a bit of time and we want to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy,” Cash said. “Not COVID healthy, but healthy physically, you know, with all the small issues that can arise when you try to rush a guy back.”
Yonny Chirinos makes his season debut as the Rays wrap up a five-game homestand against the Braves on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field. Chirinos missed nearly three weeks of Summer Camp after testing positive for COVID-19 and faced hitters once, throwing four simulated innings last Thursday. The Braves counter with right-hander Kyle Wright.