Rays likely to use Glasnow out of 'pen in return

Lowe, Wendle to rehab with Triple-A Durham Tuesday

August 19th, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- Despite some inconsistencies in June, the Rays' bullpen has been one of the best in the Majors all season, and the unit could be getting some more firepower over the next couple of weeks.

Tyler Glasnow continues to rehab from a right forearm strain that he suffered on May 10, and the right-hander threw his first bullpen session on Monday since suffering a setback with the injury in June.

Monday was another positive step for Glasnow, who threw 15 fastballs on the mound and is scheduled for another bullpen session on Wednesday and Friday before moving on to a live batting practice session next week while the team is in Houston, and ultimately begin a rehab assignment around Aug. 30 with Class A Charlotte.

“The speed was relatively game-like, everything felt good,” Glasnow said of Monday’s bullpen session. “So I’m optimistic, for sure. It feels really good.”

The caveat to all of this, however, is that the right-hander won’t be built up as a starter and would be used as a bullpen option for the big league club if all goes well over the next couple of weeks, at least initially.

“I’m going to rehab initially out of the 'pen, I believe,” Glasnow said. “I don’t know if I’ll build up to two innings, I’m not sure. I’m sure it’ll all depend on how I’m feeling with the recovery and whatnot. However they want to use me, I’m down to do whatever.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash said that the team hasn’t given any thought if Glasnow would be used as an opener or in the backend of the bullpen. Regardless of his role, if Tampa Bay can get Glasnow, who led the American League with a 1.86 ERA before landing on the 60-day injured list, he’ll give the Rays an added boost as they look to secure one of the two American League Wild Card spots.

“With that stuff, I think he’ll be effective anywhere if he picks up where he left off,” Cash said. “I’m sure as we get closer, we’ll start talking about how we envision his workload if he’s able to get back.”

Glasnow said he cleared a mental hurdle a few weeks ago after he saw how his body was responding with no soreness after a couple throwing sessions over the last couple of weeks. Monday’s bullpen session reinforced his belief that he’ll return to a big league mound in 2019.

“I think very high,” Glasnow responded with a smile, when asked what his chances are to pitch this season. “We’ll see when September comes.”

More injury updates on Lowe, Wendle and Garcia

Brandon Lowe (right shin) and Joey Wendle (right wrist) played the last two games with Class A Charlotte as they continued their rehab back to the big league club. After the two games in Port Charlotte, the duo will head up to Triple-A Durham to play for the Bulls on Tuesday.

Both Wendle and Lowe were encouraged with how they felt in the two games with the Stone Crabs and want to return as soon as possible. Wendle said the wrist felt good and hopes that he can return after a handful of games with Durham.

“Everything is feeling really good,” Wendle said. “It’s just a matter of getting some at-bats and making sure when I come back I’m productive and ready to go.”

As for Lowe, the infielder continues to progress and said he feels good despite “not being 100 percent” with the injury, Lowe’s biggest challenges have been his mobility defensively and on the bases, but he believes he’s taken significant strides in those areas and hopes to return during the next road trip, but there’s no definitive timetable.

“I’m itching to get back,” Lowe said. “I’m hoping that it’s not very long, but it’s something we’re going to find out while we’re [in Durham] and test it.”

Avisail Garcia (right oblique) took batting practice in the cage on Monday for the first time since landing on the injured list last Wednesday. The plan is for him to take batting practice on the field on Tuesday and then play one rehab game towards the end of this week. He’s on pace to return soon, if all goes well.

Rays 2020 Spring Training schedule

Major League Baseball released the 2020 Spring Training schedule on Monday and the Rays will begin Grapefruit League play on Feb. 22 in Ft. Myers against the Red Sox. The first home game in Charlotte Sports Park is scheduled for Feb. 23 against the Yankees.

The Rays' home schedule features six weekend games, including the opener against the Yankees and two games against the Orioles. The Red Sox visit Port Charlotte twice, on Feb. 24 and March 11.

The first workout for pitchers and catchers is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 13. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 17.