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Chirinos nears return to Rays; Lowe still hopeful

@juanctoribio
September 17, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Rays have Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell back on the mound, and Yonny Chirinos could be the next pitcher to return from the injured list for Tampa Bay. Chirinos threw a simulated game on Monday, and Rays manager Kevin Cash said the session “went really well.”

LOS ANGELES -- The Rays have Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell back on the mound, and Yonny Chirinos could be the next pitcher to return from the injured list for Tampa Bay.

Chirinos threw a simulated game on Monday, and Rays manager Kevin Cash said the session “went really well.” The right-hander threw 40 pitches in two-plus innings, and the next time he takes the mound could be for the big league team.

“He’s up to 93-94 mph,” Cash said. “I think, in fairness, we’ll talk to him and there’s a good chance that we could see his next action be at a Major League game.”

Cash said that even though Chirinos was a starter before landing on the injured list on Aug. 5 with right middle finger inflammation, it’s unclear if the righty's next outing will be as a starter or out of the bullpen. Chirinos would likely only pitch a couple innings, given his lengthy absence.

As for Brandon Lowe, who Chirinos threw to during the simulated game, his return is unclear. Lowe went down with a deep bone bruise on his right shin in July, then strained his left quad during a rehab game with Triple-A Durham on Aug. 22.

Lowe was initially expected to miss the remainder of the season, but he has been rehabbing at Tropicana Field with the hope that he’ll return at some point this year. The infielder played in an instructional league game Tuesday, but he still has some hurdles to clear before returning to the active roster.

“Timing at the plate is there,” Cash said. “Infield is there, but the running is not quite where we need it to be for his sake.”

Lowe, who is eligible to return from the 60-day injured list, will be off Wednesday and could play in a simulated game Thursday before playing in another instructional league game Saturday. There’s still a chance that Lowe returns this season, but it won’t happen during the next homestand, which begins Friday against the Red Sox.

Playoff odds

With just 11 games remaining in the season, including Tuesday’s opener against the Dodgers, the Rays have a solid chance of making the postseason. Entering Tuesday, Baseball-Reference.com gave the Rays a 60-percent chance as one of the two American League Wild Card teams. FanGraphs was even more generous to Tampa Bay, giving it a 70.7-percent chance of playing in the Wild Card game on Oct. 2.

The Rays entered Tuesday with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Indians for the second AL Wild Card spot, and they were one game behind the A’s for the top spot.

However, Tampa Bay had the toughest remaining schedule of the three teams, playing eight of its final 11 games against teams over .500. Cleveland played six of its last 12 against winning clubs, while Oakland finishes out its last 12 games without playing a team over .500.

Postseason ticket plans

On Tuesday, the Rays announced ticket information for any potential postseason game at Tropicana Field, including the Wild Card Game on Oct. 2. All ticket information can be found at Raysbaseball.com/postseason.

Rays season ticket holders will have the exclusive opportunity to purchase a postseason ticket package and secure tickets for all postseason games at Tropicana Field.

Unlike regular-season games this season, the Rays will open the upper deck at Tropicana Field for every home postseason game.

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