Josh Lowe’s return to Rays delayed due to new injury issue

CHICAGO — Josh Lowe won’t be rejoining the Rays this weekend after all.

Lowe was expected to be activated off the injured list and in the lineup Saturday after completing his rehab from a spring training right oblique strain. But that move is now delayed at least a few days, and potentially longer, due to a right hamstring issue.

Lowe said he woke up Friday in Durham, North Carolina, with what he thought was cramping in his hamstring. He still felt tightness after flying to Chicago, then was checked Friday afternoon and again Saturday morning by the team’s medical staff, leading to the decision to not risk further injury by activating him.

Instead of making his season debut against the White Sox, he will fly back to Florida and have an MRI exam on Monday.

“I need to be at 100% coming back for this team right now,” Lowe said. “There’s no point, I can’t come back and afford to hurt myself game 1, and then miss six weeks. I know the importance of what I mean to this lineup and this team, and I can’t afford to come back and blow something out and then miss more time than I already have.

“... That’s what I have to realize, that as much as I want to get back out there and play and help this team, I have to be smart.”

Lowe said didn’t feel anything amiss when playing for Triple-A Durham on Thursday, but he also didn’t feel right when he got up Friday, with soreness in his leg that didn’t go away.

“So, that’s when I kind of questioned what it was and obviously said something,” he said. “We hopefully are getting in front of it.”

With their offense struggling and unbalanced, the Rays were eager for Lowe to return — manager Kevin Cash saying on Friday, “We need him” ― hoping his left-handed bat would add some spark.

Now, after the “kind of unique” circumstances, the Rays will wait to see what the MRI shows and how Lowe feels. Cash said based on what Lowe had said he is optimistic the additional delay will be short.

“But, when you add that to he’s still coming back from another injury and rehab at-bats and all that, so we’re just going to have to figure it out,” Cash said. “It’s probably going to take a couple days for us to really have a good handle on it.’'

Cash: Siri issue ‘over with’

After making the rare move of taking centerfielder Jose Siri out for a lack of hustle on a defensive play, Cash said he does not expect the incident to linger.

“It’s over with,” he said.

Siri said he was initially caught off-guard by Cash’s decision, which came after a second-inning play in which Eloy Jimenez’s grounder rolled between shortstop Jose Caballero and second baseman Amed Rosario. With Siri thinking one of them would make the play and not charging, Jimenez stretched it to a double.

“I think them being in the dugout, they have a different view of the play itself,” said Siri, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “They saw it a different way than I saw it and obviously they’re the ones that make the decisions and they took me out.”

Siri said that had never happened to him before, it was “something to learn from” and he also considers it over and done with.

Happy to be here

Though right-hander Manuel Rodriguez spent the rest of the 2023 season at Triple-A Durham, he was still excited to be acquired by the Rays last July and embraced their pitching philosophy.

Getting called up Friday after a strong 2024 start with the Bulls was even better.

“I feel amazing,” he said. “This is my dream. I just keep pushing, and now it’s coming true. I’m so grateful to the Tampa Bay Rays. They give me the opportunity to be here. I just want to help my team win. I feel like blessed to be here.”


Yandy Diaz didn’t play after being hit on the left pinkie finger by a 99.3-mph Michael Kopech pitch Friday. Cash said he was available — “totally fine” -— if needed off the bench but chose not to pinch-hit him in the 10th. ... Longtime TV play-by-play Dewayne Staats is taking this trip off as part of a planned reduced schedule, so Andy Freed joins Brian Anderson in the Bally booth and Doug Waechter pairs with Neil Solondz on radio. … Taj Bradley, out since a spring pectoral muscle strain, is slated for his first rehab start with Durham on Sunday. ... Infielder Yu Chang, who strained an oblique in spring training, was activated and added to the Bulls roster.... The White Sox have a few familiar faces: Bench coach Charlie Montoyo was a longtime Rays minor-league manager and big-league coach, first base coach Jason Bourgeois played for the Rays briefly in 2013, and outfielder Tommy Pham played for them in 2018-19. Also, rookie reliever Jordan Leasure is a product of Riverview High and the University of Tampa.

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