With Ryan Pepiot on IL, Taj Bradley ready to join Rays rotation

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Pepiot really wanted to stay in the Rays’ rotation, but team officials decided to take a cautious approach and placed him on the 15-day injured list with a bruised leg. LEFT.

That allowed Taj Bradley to be activated from the injured list and make his season debut Friday against the Yankees, after being sidelined since suffering a pectoral muscle strain midway through spring.

“I’m really excited,” Bradley said. “The time I took off seemed like eternity while I was there, but looking back it was only two months. And in those two months, I discovered things that I could work on outside of the game that I was afraid to fix during the season. So it just gives me time to really fix some things.

The Rays have high hopes for Bradley, the 23-year-old who had a rocky rookie season last year, going 5-8 with a 5.59 ERA in 23 games (21 starts), and in striking out 129 in 104⅔ innings. He made two rehab starts for Triple-A Durham after recovering from the strain, allowing one run, two hits and three walks in 11 innings while striking out 15.

Rays starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot, left, is removed from the game against the Mets by manager Kevin Cash, center, and coach Joe Benge after being hit in the foot by a ground ball from Starling Marte last Sunday.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Rays starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot, left, is removed from the game against the Mets by manager Kevin Cash, center, and coach Joe Benge after being hit in the foot by a ground ball from Starling Marte last Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) (CHRIS O’MEARA | AP)

“I heard his work was very, very good,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He throws the ball over home plate. He controls the running game. He has a lot of confidence with all of his pitches right now because he knows he’ll have to mix it up against the Yankees on Friday.

He was welcomed back into the dugout with a prank, as his teammates secretly affixed a paper cup to his cap.

Pepiot, 26, was forced out of Sunday’s game after being hit in the left calf and lower leg by a line drive clocked at 107.5 mph from the start. With an X-ray and a more detailed CT scan confirming there was no fracture, he hoped intense, thorough treatment from the training staff would help him recover quickly enough to pitch this weekend .

But the calf and bone pain persisted, and there was also the problem of colored bruises and imprints from the ball’s seams on his leg. “There’s pretty much a full seam on the calf and part on my shin,” Pepiot said.

Worried about the impact of landing Pepiot on the leg 90 to 100 times if he started, and the risk of blowing up the bullpen if he were to leave early in the game, Cash said the Rays had opted for what they considered “a smart solution”. things to do.”

Pepiot was frustrated but understanding.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I didn’t do very good stunts trying to get out of it. I tried everything to achieve this, but I don’t want to leave the team in a bad position.

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With the IL backdated to Monday, Pepiot could return as early as May 21. And he knows it could have been worse.

“I’m lucky,” he said. “If it was an inch longer, I’d be in a cast right now.”

Rehabilitation report

Closer Pete Fairbanks, who pitched a two-hit inning Tuesday in his first rehab outing for Triple-A Durham, will pitch again Thursday and be re-evaluated for a return. He suffers from a nervous illness. … Second baseman Brandon Lowe hit a grand slam Wednesday in his second game. … Jonathan Aranda was playing first base in his ninth rehab game.


Jose Siri started in center field after missing the previous two games as the Rays established a position split between him and Jonny DeLuca. … Isaac Paredes extended his home base streak to 19 games with a fourth-inning double. …. The St. Petersburg City Council will hold the first of two lengthy workshops on Thursday on the Historic Gas Works District plan, focusing first on the redevelopment project and then in two weeks on the Rays Stadium . A vote is expected in June.

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