Jose Alvarado set to rejoin Rays, Tommy Pham still hurting

Rays Journal: The lefty reliever may meet the Rays in San Diego. Pham plans to play with a small fracture in his right hand.
Left-hander Jose Alvarado has six straight scoreless appearances in relief for the Rays.WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Time
Left-hander Jose Alvarado has six straight scoreless appearances in relief for the Rays.WILL VRAGOVIC | Time
Published August 13
Updated August 13

SAN DIEGO — Reliever Jose Alvarado is close to rejoining the Rays and outfielder Tommy Pham said he expects to be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday despite ongoing soreness in his right hand that includes a small fracture.

Pham was not in the lineup for Monday’s 10-4 win over the Padres and lefty starter Joey Lucchesi.

He has been limited since spraining his right hand sliding into second base In Toronto July 28, and 5-for-30 since. Manager Kevin Cash said before Monday’s game the Rays were waiting for second opinions from several doctors they asked to review imaging of the injured area.

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“He’s not feeling great,’’ Cash said. “It’s not ideal. We know he’s playing through some discomfort and some pain. It’s just a matter that we want to confirm that we’re doing the right thing by allowing him to continue to play so we’re waiting on that feedback.’’

But Pham said after the game he is taking medicine to address the swelling and can tolerate the pain to resume playing with no plans to end up on the injured list to get extended rest.

"I’m not going on the injured list; I’ll fight them on that,'' he said. "Granted there is something wrong with my hand, but I can play. These pills have to kick in. The swelling already went down a lot. So I’ll be all right, I’m playing.''

Pham didn’t have a lot of specifics to offer but said the injury is more than a sprain.

"I’ve got some problems,'' he said. "There’s a small fracture, but it’s small enough where I can play. And I’ve got some swelling.''

Alvarado has made five rehab appearances since recovering from an early July oblique strain that sidelined four games after his return from a two-month personal leave, and it sounds like he could be headed to San Diego.

“We’re talking through a lot of stuff with him,’’ Cash said. “We’re really close to seeing him. (Pitching coach Kyle Snyder) was really encouraged after talking to (Triple-A pitching coach Rick Knapp) about the shape and play of the fastball. So he’s close.’’

The roster spot to add Alvarado could be created by placing Pham on the injured list, though that would leave the Rays down a position player.

Blake Snell catching on

Blake Snell played catch Monday for the first time since July 29 arthroscopic surgery to remove six bone chips from his elbow, making about 25 tosses at distances of 45 and 60 feet. “It felt good,’’ Snell said. “Once the inflammation goes down I think it will be a lot better. But felt good, no problems. … Happy with it.’’ Snell will be on a three days a week schedule and continue to build up his arm with the goal of returning to the mound for the Rays sometime in September. “For sure,’’ he said. “But at the same time I’ve never had this injury so I don’t really know. For me to start playing catch now to say September I feel very positive about it.’’

Blake Snell posted a photo of Instagram of his meeting with childhood idol Ken Griffey Jr. [Instagram] Instagram
Blake Snell posted a photo of Instagram of his meeting with childhood idol Ken Griffey Jr. [Instagram] Instagram

Snell’s ‘Junior’ moment

Snell, who grew up in Seattle and named his dog Junior, got to realize a lifelong dream on Saturday when he got to meet and talk with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.. who was in town for the Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame events. “He was coming off the field and (Rays first base coach Ozzie Timmons, a former Mariner) was like, “Griffey!’ Then Griffey came over and then he said “Whassup?” and he knew who I was and I said, “I know who you are,’ ‘’ Snell recounted Monday. “I didn’t really say much. I was kind of nervous. I don’t know why. ... I don’t really know what I said.’’ Snell did get a Griffey Mariners jersey signed.

MORE RAYS: Cash won the game, but did he lose something move valuable?

Miscellany

* Rookie lefty Brendan McKay is looking forward to Tuesday’s start as he will get the chance to pitch and hit in the same game for the first time since college at Louisville. “It’s going to be exciting, I haven’t done it since 2017,’’ he said. “To be able to get out there and be able to contribute with the bat will be exciting.’’

* Monday was the Rays first game at Petco Park since 2004, their only other visit to San Diego.

* Sunday’s game was the Rays seventh shutout of the season, first since June 5 at Detroit. It also was the 34th time in franchise history they won 1-0 , 12th with the run on a home run.

* After having Diego Castillo work the first inning as the opener, the Rays used an unexpected pinch-hitter, with pitcher Jalen Beeks batting for him in the top of the second with two outs and no one on. Beeks, a lefty hitter facing Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi, went down looking.

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays


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