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Rays’ Brandon Lowe doesn’t expect to miss time despite early exit

ST. PETERSBURG — Brandon Lowe said he doesn’t expect to miss any substantial time despite being removed from Wednesday’s game due to tightness on his left side.

Lowe said the tightness was more like feeling sore after a workout than acute pain or anything that came on suddenly, which is often described by players who strain their oblique muscles.

“It felt like when you have a tight hamstring or when you stretch your quad and stuff like that,” he said. “It didn’t even like pop up. It’s not something that came up out of nowhere. It’s just when you work out and you get sore, that’s what it felt like.”

Lowe said once he shared what he was feeling, manager Kevin Cash made the decision to remove him after the fifth inning of what was a 0-0 game.

“I wanted more information and it led to what it led to,” Lowe said. “If it was up to me I would have stayed in the game, but ultimately not my decision.”

With the Rays already missing two of their top lefty hitters in Josh Lowe (oblique strain) and Jonathan Aranda (broken finger), Cash said it was an obvious decision to be cautious with Brandon Lowe, their primary second baseman.

“Given that we have a day off (Thursday) and that I think we’re getting a lefty (starter from the Rockies on Friday), that should give him two full days to rest it and see where it goes from there,” Cash said.

“He felt it, not during the swing, he just felt it was tight. And he’s too important to kind of push through at this point.”

Lowe has missed time the last two seasons due to back issues and a fractured kneecap. He said several times this spring he feels as good as he did in 2021, when he hit 39 homers.

After the game, Lowe said he didn’t know if he would get an MRI, that “we’ll see what happens.”

But he also was adamant he wouldn’t miss time.

“I’ll be available whenever I’m needed,” Lowe said. “I don’t see any issues.”

Odorizzi to stay with Durham for now

After throwing four innings with mixed results for Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, 11-year big-league veteran Jake Odorizzi will stay with the Bulls for at least one more start, on Sunday.

Odorizzi and Rays officials will talk again after that start, as they did Wednesday, following his outing when he allowed four runs, five hits and three walks while striking out two, throwing 74 pitches (42 strikes), averaging about 88 mph with his fastball.

When Odorizzi, who signed a minor-league contract March 15 after spending 2023 recovering from shoulder surgery, feels he is ready for the big leagues, the Rays will decide whether to make room or let him go to another team.

Miscellany

The Rays extended their season-opening stolen base streak to seven games, second longest in franchise history behind the 1999 team’s nine. … The Rays’ season-opening run of games with a steal and a homer ended at six, joining the 1998 Indians as the only teams to do so in the modern era (since 1901). … Jose Caballero has reached base in all six games he has played, the second-longest streak of his career, with a high of nine from June 2-13, 2023. ... The Rays have lost five of their last six games (including postseason) to the Rangers, by a combined 31-11. ... Right-hander Marcus Johnson, the team’s No. 14 prospect by Baseball America and No. 21 per mlb.com, had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Johnson, who spent 2023 at Class-A Charleston, is expected back this season. … Outfielder Niko Hulsizer, an invitee to major-league spring training after spending 2023 at Durham (.212, 17 homers, 63 RBIs, .741 OPS), was released as there was no room on the Bulls roster. He was acquired from the Dodgers in 2019 for reliever Adam Kolarek.

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