HOUSTON -- After suffering a couple of setbacks while rehabbing from a right forearm strain, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow appears to be getting closer to making his return to a big league mound.
Glasnow, who has been sidelined since May 10, threw 15 pitches during a live batting practice session at the Rays’ Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., and all checked out well for the right-hander. Now, it’s time for Glasnow to test his arm in live games. The 6-foot-8 hurler is set to make his first rehab outing on Friday with Class A Advanced Charlotte.
“[Glasnow] was encouraging,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I think he’s scheduled to throw one inning in the game for Port Charlotte three or four days from now.”
Cash said Tampa Bay expects Glasnow to need about three or four outings in the Minors before joining the big league team. Glasnow is scheduled to return as a reliever, which would add another quality arm to a Rays bullpen that has excelled for the most part this season.
The Rays also received some positive news on their two other starting pitchers on the injured list. Blake Snell threw 10 pitches at Tropicana Field, and Cash said the left-hander felt “really good” during the session. The next step for Snell is a bullpen session on Friday, which will be the first time he throws off a mound since undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his left elbow.
Right-hander Yonny Chirinos played catch on Tuesday and said it was the best he had felt since he landed on the injured list on Aug. 5 with right middle finger inflammation.
Despite the positive day for Snell and Chirinos, there’s still no timetable for their return, but the team is optimistic that they will pitch again this season. That would help a Rays pitching staff that had uncharacteristically allowed six or more runs in five of its past seven games before Tuesday night's game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Kiermaier remains day to day
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier arrived at Minute Maid Park early Tuesday to see if the pain around his rib area had subsided. But after taking a couple of swings at low intensity, Kiermaier and the Rays' training staff decided it was best for the center fielder to take another day off.
“It’s one of those things where with things like this, time is the most essential thing, unfortunately,” Kiermaier said. “But the thought process was that if I have to miss one game today to be good for the next however many games they want me to play, that’s what the goal is.”
Kiermaier was available off the bench on Tuesday, but Cash said he wanted to give Kiermaier another day off before inserting him into the lineup on Wednesday against Astros starter Gerrit Cole.
Other injury news
• José Alvarado landed on the injured list on Sunday with left elbow inflammation, but all tests checked out OK for the left-hander. Cash called it general tendinitis for Alvarado, who will rest before he begins throwing. The expectation is that he’ll return this season.
“If you go and look at any pitcher’s arm at this point in the season, you’re going to find something,” Cash said. “We’ll continue to monitor it. He’s in there kind of resting the arm, getting treatment, and we’ll go from there. We’ll find out a little bit more once we get back.”
• Brendan McKay was placed on the seven-day injured list, retroactive to Friday, at Triple-A Durham with left shoulder fatigue. After feeling some fatigue, McKay was examined by Rays orthopedic surgeon Dr. Koco Eaton, who found no concerns. McKay resumed throwing on Monday, playing catch from 90 feet. He’s expected to skip his next start for Durham before returning to the mound, with the possibility that his next start comes at the big league level with the rosters expanding on Sunday.
“I think this was just precautionary,” Cash said. “He felt something throwing his bullpen once he got optioned out. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we give him ample rest so when he does get back up here, that he can help. We foresee this to be really short. Shut him down for a couple of days from throwing, and he’ll get right back out there and get on the mound throwing, and it could be for us.”
Rays honor original owner
Vince Naimoli, the original owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, died Sunday night after a long battle with an illness at the age of 81. The Rays will honor Naimoli for the remainder of the season by wearing a patch with the initials “VJN” on their jerseys beginning on Friday against the Indians at Tropicana Field.
The emblem features navy lettering on white background. The team will also honor Naimoli with a pregame recognition and a moment of silence Friday.
“When you think Tampa Bay baseball, he probably has to be at the forefront of that,” Cash said. “Everything he did to get baseball into the city is very well documented, recognized and ultimately appreciated by our fans. A tough loss for the bay area community. He did a lot of things that impacted Tampa Bay, not just with the Rays, but very generous with his time, his effort, and we’ll all miss him.”