ANAHEIM, Calif. — RHP Jeremy Hellickson rejoined the Rays on Monday afternoon, rested from his time off and eager to return to the mound, and was promptly struck on the left shoulder by a batted ball during batting practice while he was getting loose.
Hellickson, who came through the incident unscathed, will be added to the roster today.
While surprised by the move last week that resulted in his being optioned to Class A Charlotte so the Rays could call up RHP Jake Odorizzi for a spot start, Hellickson said he will not allow that to be an issue.
“It’s not like a chip on my shoulder or anything like that,” Hellickson said.
He also said he understood the move.
“I knew I was struggling there,” he said. “I wanted to keep going out there trying to give us a chance to win. I just wasn’t doing my job. I don’t think it was a bad idea to do this. As much as I wanted to be out there and pitch and help the team win, to take a few days off to clear my mind, it might be a good thing.”
The Rays haven’t named a starter for Wednesday, and manager Joe Maddon said Hellickson is in the mix. Yet Maddon added that pitching coach Jim Hickey wants to see Hellickson throw, and that didn’t happen Monday.
“For me it would be good to get him out ASAP just to get him back in the flow of things. Whether that is as a starter or coming out of the bullpen, I don’t know yet,” Maddon said. “But he can be a big piece in us having a very successful month, so it’s important for us to get him going again.”
Hellickson never reported to Port Charlotte. He took off the day after his was taken off the roster then threw every day at Tropicana Field with Odorizzi. He threw a bullpen Saturday.
That Hellickson is available to pitch tonight and Maddon wants him back on the mound as soon as possible doesn’t seem like much of a rest for the struggling pitcher.
“It’s more rest than I would have got,” he said. “One start, that can make a big difference heath-wise. I think the fact of taking one start off was the rest.”
Moore returns tonight
LHP Matt Moore (sore left elbow) will be activated from the disabled list and start tonight against the Angels. Maddon said he’s hoping to get five or six innings out of Moore, who will be limited to 90 pitches.
“I’m not expecting over-the-top command based on the fact he hasn’t pitched enough lately,” Maddon said. “If he can get us into that game around five, five-plus (innings) and hopefully at least be in the lead by a little bit, that would be great.”
The mystery starter
For the second time on this road trip, the Rays have moved within 48 hours of a game without announcing the starting pitcher. The first time was Sunday in Oakland, when they decided to use a parade of relievers.
That could be the case Wednesday.
Maddon said RHP Roberto Hernandez and Hellickson are candidates.
“Outside shot of another bullpen day,” Maddon said. “But I would bet it’s going to be one of those two guys.”
When asked about the success former Rays (such as Stephen Vogt, Elliot Johnson, James Shields and Dane De La Rosa) have had this season against their old team, Maddon said, “We taught them well. We’ve definitely done a nice job of development.” ... The Rays hit into a major league-high 30 double plays in August. ... The Rays began Monday’s game 0-8 this season in the Pacific time zone — 0-2 at Arizona, 0-3 at Los Angeles Dodgers and 0-3 at Oakland.