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Rays’ Brandon Lowe headed to injured list with oblique issue

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe is headed to the injured list due to a Grade 1 right oblique strain.

He got an MRI Wednesday morning in the Anaheim area that will be reviewed by the team medical staff, and manager Kevin Cash said Lowe will miss some time.

Lowe was removed from the April 3 home game against the Rangers with left-side tightness, but an MRI was clean and he returned to action Friday in Colorado, playing in all three games.

He wasn’t in the lineup Monday and Tuesday, as the Angels used lefty starters. He was taking swings to prepare for a potential pinch-hitting appearance Tuesday when he felt the discomfort on his right side.

“Pretty fluke,” Cash said. “You really feel for Brandon. It’s just unfortunate. I do feel bad for him that he worked really hard.”

That the MRI showed a low-grade strain — and a return potentially measured in weeks rather than months — provided only some consolation for the obviously frustrated Lowe.

“Probably the best case we could have asked for given the circumstances,” he said.

Lowe said he was taking swings in the cage when he realized “something didn’t feel right.” He told the athletic training staff, which relayed word to the dugout he wouldn’t be able to hit. Lowe said he had “no idea” how long he would be out and hadn’t yet processed his level of disappointment.

“It just happened (Tuesday) night, so it’s all still pretty new,” he said. “I’ve never done an oblique (injury) or side or whatever it is, so, yeah, it’s frustrating.”

Lowe, who missed time last season with back issues and a broken right kneecap, is the third key left-handed hitter to be sidelined by injury. He joins outfielder Josh Lowe (oblique strain) and infielder Jonathan Aranda (broken right ring finger), both of whom are expected out until early-to-mid May.

Candidates for promotion from Triple-A Durham include recently acquired Niko Goodrum, a switch-hitter, and Osleivis Basabe, a right-handed hitter who filled in last year.

Weekend pitching plans unsettled

With lefty Tyler Alexander on the bereavement list dealing with what the team said is a private matter, pitching plans for the weekend series against the Giants were still undecided on Wednesday.

Alexander was slated to pitch Friday (either starting or behind an opener) and initially was expected back. But Cash said team officials would spend Thursday’s off day “talking about all of our options.”

If Alexander (who can be on the list for three-seven days) isn’t back by Friday, the Rays could use long reliever Jacob Waguespack as part of a bullpen-day plan, having added Kevin Kelly to replace Alexander.

Another option could be to move up scheduled Saturday starter Ryan Pepiot, who pitched Sunday and would be on regular rest Friday. They could do the same with scheduled Sunday starter Zach Eflin on Saturday. But Friday starts a stretch of games on 13 consecutive days, so the Rays may prefer to keep the other starters on schedule for the extra rest since they won’t get it later.

Former Rays All-Star Blake Snell will start Sunday for the Giants, his first game at Tropicana Field since being traded after the 2020 season.

Miscellany

With a leadoff single, Yandy Diaz logged his 560th hit with the Rays, breaking a tie with Carlos Pena for eighth on the all-time list. Fred McGriff is seventh at 603. ... The Rays won the decisive “rubber game” of a road series for the eighth straight time, a streak that dates back to July 30, 2023 and is the longest active such run in the majors. ... Top prospect Junior Caminero, sidelined at Triple-A Durham on March 31 with a left quad strain, could return to game action as soon as this weekend.

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