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Alvarado (oblique) to begin rehab assignment

@juanctoribio
August 3, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- José Alvarado is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance on Sunday for Class A Advanced Charlotte and could be on the verge of returning to the Rays' bullpen sooner rather than later. Alvarado, who has been sidelined since July 7 with a right oblique strain, threw

ST. PETERSBURG -- José Alvarado is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance on Sunday for Class A Advanced Charlotte and could be on the verge of returning to the Rays' bullpen sooner rather than later.

Alvarado, who has been sidelined since July 7 with a right oblique strain, threw a bullpen session on Friday and played catch on Saturday without feeling any discomfort, which made the Rays comfortable enough to send the left-hander on a rehab assignment, which will start on Sunday.

If all goes well with the Stone Crabs on Sunday, Alvarado will fly to Triple-A Durham on Monday, and the plan will be for him to pitch on back-to-back days on Tuesday and Wednesday. If there are no setbacks, Alvarado could rejoin the team in Seattle on the upcoming road trip.

“We’re going to try and get through this homestand and then see if there’s a chance that he can join up with us in Seattle at some point,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “So far, no setbacks, which has been really encouraging.”

Alvarado said he’s “excited” to get back on the mound and hopefully rejoin the team by next week. Adding Alvarado can be another boost for a Rays bullpen that has pitched well over the past week after struggling most of July.

“Take away the first month, that’s the last time where we saw that everyone was kind of clicking,” Cash said. “When [Alvarado] gets back here, he could be a big piece. Still some work to be doing with Diego [Castillo] and some other guys, but we’re encouraged with the workload with what Chaz [Roe] has done lately, what Colin Poche was able to do in Fenway, that’s really encouraging. So if we get them all together, we have a special group.”

But for Alvarado to rejoin the team and be a key part of the bullpen, the left-hander will have to prove that he’s back healthy and throwing strikes consistently. Alvarado's control has been a main reason why he sports a 5.06 ERA in 30 appearances this season.

“When he comes back, we want to see him come back to where he’s throwing strikes,” Cash said. “We’re going to pay attention to that in all of his outings.”

Updates on Lowe, Diaz
Brandon Lowe fielded ground balls and did some hitting, and the infielder said it “went well,” but there’s still no timetable for his return. Lowe has been sidelined since July 3 with a right shin bone bruise, and it has taken longer to heal than originally expected.

Lowe received a cortisone shot before the team traveled to Toronto last week, and the infielder said that it “helped a ton,” but he’s still not where he wants to be when it comes to fielding ground balls and playing close to 100 percent.

As for Yandy Díaz, the third baseman ran on the treadmill for the first time on Saturday and is progressing well. He still feels discomfort in his left foot, but is off crutches and walking on his own, which is a good sign. Diaz hopes to go through baseball activities at some point during the next week.

“Nothing much new to report with Yandy,” Cash said. “There’s progress, but still slow progress.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.