Rasmussen, who underwent Tommy John surgery while at UNLV in 2015 and again in 2018 after being drafted by the Brewers, is still getting stretched out. He did not become a regular in the Rays’ rotation until last August and topped out at five innings.

Drew Rasmussen Sharp; Brandon Lowe Feeling Good

Drew Rasmussen (Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)
Drew Rasmussen (Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Drew Rasmussen would have put in a fourth inning of work against the Tigers on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field. However, a prolonged bottom of the third in which the Rays scored six runs off three pitchers meant the righthander would finish up in the bullpen.

Regardless, Rasmussen likes where he is midway through the Grapefruit League schedule. On Monday, he allowed only one hit and one unearned run while fanning three in three innings. He threw 47 pitches.

“I thought things went pretty well out there,” said the 27-year-old, who went 11-7 with a 2.84 ERA in 2022. “I thought I was pretty sharp. Put-away pitches could have been executed a little bit better, but we are still working on it. We still have a couple of weeks before the regular season gets here.”

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It was only Rasmussen’s second start of the spring. His first was March 3 in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. He then pitched in a simulated game during an off day, March 8, to keep the every-fifth-day rhythm.

“I still have another two or three (starts) before we get into the regular season,” he said. “I feel good. I felt just as strong in the third as I did in the first. It would have been nice to go out for the fourth, but with how things unfolded I am not going to complain about finishing up in the bullpen.”

Healthy Lowe: Many eyes are on Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe this spring after the infielders were bit by the injury bug for much of 2022. While Franco is playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Lowe is having a pain-free spring after a lower back injury cost him nearly 100 games last season, including a two-month stretch from mid-May to mid-July.

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A sweet swing that produced 39 homers in 2021 was on display Monday against Tigers when he drilled a three-run shot in the second inning of a 9-5 win. Lowe also singled in the first and concluded his day with a sacrifice fly in the third to cap a four-RBI afternoon. He is hitting .350 in Grapefruit League play

“I am more just happy with where my health is,” said the second baseman, who has been adhering to a workout routine in order to remain healthy and strong. “I feel good at the plate swinging. I feel great in the field, running and everything like that. As we get closer to opening day, hopefully everything stays the way it has been.”

Diaz returns: It has been a rough spring for Yandy Diaz. A hip flexor and a left hand injury, the result of being hit by pitch last week, limited him to three games. He returned Monday against Detroit and walked twice, singled and scored a run. The two weeks of spring training that remain might be more than enough for the third baseman heading into the start of the season.

“In about a week, if I get a decent amount of at-bats,” said Diaz, via an interpreter when asked how long it might take him to be ready for the season opener.

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