MINNEAPOLIS -- There’s a good chance that third baseman Yandy Díaz will return to the Rays lineup on Thursday against the Twins.
Diaz has been sidelined with right hamstring discomfort since June 17, but the third baseman went through infield drills and batting practice for the second consecutive day Wednesday, which opens the door for him to return to the lineup on Thursday.
“We’re hopeful that Yandy is ready to go, and we need him back in there,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Yesterday was another good day. Assuming he gets through today all right, I think it’s fair to assume that he’ll be in the lineup for us tomorrow.”
Getting Diaz back will be a much-welcomed move for a Rays lineup that has struggled to score over the past couple of weeks. Before going down with the injury, Diaz was one of the few bright spots for the Rays in June, hitting .361/.426/.508 with two home runs.
With Diaz likely returning on Thursday, Michael Brosseau could be heading back to Triple-A Durham in order to make room on the active roster.
“It just lengthens our lineup out,” Cash said. “Mike Brosseau has obviously done a good job with his limited reps and opportunity, but Yandy has been right in the middle of things for us offensively, and the presence that he brings at the plate is unique in the fact that he can hit the ball out of the ballpark and he can also give really good at-bats. He doesn’t swing and miss much, and that will be nice to have him back in the lineup.”
Alvarado pitches back to back
The Rays are hoping to activate José Alvarado from the restricted list during the upcoming homestand, and the last couple of days were a step in the right direction for the left-handed reliever, who has been away from the team since June 2.
Alvarado has been throwing in the Rays’ Spring Training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., over the past week, and the left-hander pitched on back-to-back days Monday and Tuesday for the first time since returning from Venezuela.
“He’s throwing BPs this week. No specific timetable, but he’s definitely inching a lot closer to be ready to go,” said Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder. “The stuff, it’s exactly what we expect it to be. We’re all eager to get him back here. But like I said, no specific timetable, but certainly in the near future."