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Tampa Bay Rays – Tommy Pham Gets a Fresh Start

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ST PETERSBURG, FL - AUG 1: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays scores in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on August 1, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - AUG 1: Tommy Pham #29 of the Tampa Bay Rays scores in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on August 1, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Rays will welcome back Tommy Pham this afternoon two weeks after going on the disabled list with a foot fracture.  It’s like a Rays debut do-over.

Everything seems to have fallen into place to allow Tommy Pham to start over with the Tampa Bay Rays.  After taking a ball of his foot in his second game with the Rays, resulting in a fracture, he seems healed and ready to go.  It was convenient that he could play a rehab game with the Hudson Valley Renegades last night on Staten Island, then return to the team to play at Yankee Stadium this afternoon.  Coincidentally, this will be his first game against the New York Yankees, so making it back today has extra meaning for the former Cardinal.

Once again, the Rays will take a look at their remade outfield.  You have to figure that, if healthy, Pham will be in the lineup just about every day.  Kevin Kiermaier isn’t going anywhere despite his struggles at the plate.  And, Mallex Smith seems to have earned regular playing time with his .297 batting average and equally impressive .372 on base percentage.

dark. Next. As the August 31 trade deadline approaches, what's next?

That would seem to leave Carlos Gomez on the outside looking in for playing time.  If only the Rays could find a taker for Gomez before the August 31 trade deadline, as that seems like the best outcome for all involved.  And, further clouding the picture is the imminent promotion of newly acquired Austin Meadows from Durham to add to the road jam of outfielders.

Pham’s return means somebody had to go.

I was a little surprised to see that Jake Faria was sent to Durham to open a spot for Tommy Pham.  I wasn’t surprised that the choice was a pitcher, but that it was Faria, who had success last season in his rookie season with the Rays.  But, after missing two months due to injury, a move to Triple-A might be best for Jake.  He has struggled with a 4.84 ERA and has yet to reach four innings in his three appearances since returning from the disabled list.

Last season, Blake Snell took a short sidestep to Durham to get his pitching back on track.  Clearly, that has worked with great success.  Now, I’m not suggesting that Jake Faria is right there with Snell.  But, this move allows Faria to firmly return to a starting role.  And, it should give him, and the Rays, the best opportunity to get him stretched out.

Considering we’re only two weeks from the rosters expanding, this should be a short trip for Faria.  Two, maybe three, starts in Durham and he should be back with the Rays.  A return to the pitcher that he was in 2017 would be a welcome outcome for the Rays pitching staff.

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