NEW YORK – The Rays’ excitement about removing outfielder/first baseman Harold Ramirez from the injured list sooner than expected was tempered Tuesday night when shortstop Wander Franco left his first game rehab with surgically repaired right hand pain.
Franco hit twice as the designated hitter for Triple-A Durham in Norfolk. He drew a step and struck, taking an awkward swing, and struck no more. Rays manager Kevin Cash didn’t seem too concerned and said Franco could return to the Bulls’ roster as early as Wednesday.
Franco was playing for the first time since surgery on July 12 to repair the right hook bone he had broken on a swing three days earlier.
“I’m very confident he’s fine,” Cash said. “Wander really wants to play badly. I think it’s just a general pain. We’ll see what the trainer says. But (I) don’t anticipate too much of that.
Franco was expected to play this week with Durham and, if all goes well, join the Rays over the weekend or early next week.
Ramirez, whose right thumb was fractured when he was hit by a pitch on July 17, began rehab on Sunday and was due to play a few more games with Durham. But Cash said Ramirez had the kind of swing that doesn’t require much work, so the Rays decided to accelerate his comeback, perhaps even more with the Yankees starting left-hander Nestor Cortes on Tuesday.
One key to the decision, it turned out, was Cash calling Ramirez and outfielder Manuel Margot on Monday as the players drove together from Durham, North Carolina to Norfolk, Va. on the day off the team, asking how each was doing and about the other.
“Manny said, ‘Yeah, (Ramirez) is ready to go. He’s hit three line drives, so he’s good to go,” Ramirez recounted. “Then (Monday) night, right after the game, (Cash) called me and said, ‘Are you feeling okay?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, “Okay, come here.”
So who really made the decision?
“In the end, Manny did it,” Cash joked.
Ramirez started at the designated hitter, third at bat, and went 1 for 4. He said his thumb feels good with no pain. He said he changed his grip on the bat slightly – moving it more into the palm of his hand – and was using a different thumb guard. To make room, outfielder Luke Raley was moved to Durham.
Margot, out since late June with a sprained patellar tendon in her right knee, went 1 for 3 with a walk and scored from first on a double on Tuesday in her fifth fifth game in rehab. He’s slated for a few more, then to join the Rays on Saturday, the first day he’s eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.
The Lowe Down
Brandon Lowe, who missed games Saturday through Sunday with right shoulder pain that required a cortisone shot, didn’t start Tuesday as Cash went with all right-handers or hitters against Cortes. He failed as a pinch hitter in the eighth, extending his slip to 1 for 25. He is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday and play second base for the first time since Aug. 10 at Milwaukee.
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Yandy Diaz extended his last on-base streak to 11 games. … Jason Adam made his seventh multi-inning appearance. … Tyler Glasnow, in the final stages of rehabilitation from August 2021 Tommy John surgery, kicked off a bullpen Tuesday and is expected to advance alongside live batting practice. After several of these sessions, he would be in line to begin a rehab mission.
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