Rays add a lefty reliever in acquiring Richard Lovelady from Cubs

TORONTO — With no set date for Colin Poche’s return from a back issue, the Rays added another left-handed reliever with some experience on Saturday, acquiring Richard Lovelady from the Cubs.

Lovelady seems most likely to meet the Rays at home Monday; he is out of options so he can’t be sent to Triple-A Durham.

The 28-year-old has spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Royals, A’s and Cubs, and has a 2-7, 5.48 record with 70 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings.

The Cubs designated him for assignment Tuesday and the Rays, who have liked him for a while, decided to take a chance, seeing him as a complement to Garrett Cleavinger from the left side, at least until Poche (out since late April) returns.

The Rays gave up Double-A reliever Jeff Belge (1-1, 4.20 in 11 games) to get Lovelady, and moved right-hander Jacob Waguespack from the 15- to 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

“Excited to have him. A guy that’s got a track record,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Saturday’s game. “Certainly being left-handed, I think that helps with our bullpen.

“The way Clevenger is throwing the ball has been great, but he probably needs some assistance. And a little bit of not knowing exactly where Colin Poche is going to land for us coming back here, still uncertainty around that. So happy to have him.”

Cash said Lovelady should be able to be used in different roles.

“We’ve got him as pretty tough on lefties,” Cash said. “Maybe not as drastic as some of the other lefties, but he can go in there and we’d feel comfortable with him coming in facing a couple of lefties. And if there’s a righty sandwiched in between there, fine that he’s equipped to handle that.”

Poche has had two rounds of injections to try to address what the team has called mid-back tightness.

Cash said Poche hasn’t had any additional issues and resumed some activity, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime soon.

“He’s been down long enough it’s going to take a little bit of time to build him back up,” Cash said. “No setback or anything, but it’s just going to take some time.”

Almost perfect

Tyler Alexander said he was “decently sore” on Saturday after throwing a career-high 105 pitches Friday in retiring the first 22 Jays before losing his perfect game on Danny Jansen’s one-out single in the eighth.

He also had “a lot of texts” from family, friends and former college and pro teammates to return after what he said was his longest outing since playing for TCU in 2015.

Alexander ended up with the second-longest run of retired batters to start a game by a Rays pitcher, behind Drew Rasmussen’s 24 in 2022. The Rays also got a combined eight perfect innings from Ryne Stanek (two) and Ryan Yarbrough (six) in 2019. No Ray has thrown a perfect game, and Matt Garza had their only no-hitter.

Rehab report

Brandon Lowe resumed his rehab from a right oblique strain Saturday by going 1-for-4 and playing second base for Durham at Charlotte; he will DH on Sunday in advance of a possible Monday return. … Reliever Chris Devenski (right knee tendinitis) threw a one-hit inning Friday in his first rehab outing and likely will make at least one more, Cash said.


Isaac Paredes extended his career-high on-base streak to 17 games, the longest such active streak in the American League. ... Yandy Diaz on how he felt after reaching base five times (three singles, two walks): “Too tired.” ... The Rays have played six straight games decided by one or two runs, winning five. ... Garrett Cleavinger worked the ninth for his third save; closer Pete Fairbanks was down after pitching three of the past four days. ... Aaron Civale will start Sunday.

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