Robbie Ray looks good in rehab start for Diamondbacks High-A affiliate

Robbie Ray was unable to escape a challenging first inning Sunday. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Robbie Ray was unable to escape a challenging first inning Sunday. (Harry How/Getty Images) /

After a loaded rehab start, the Diamondbacks should expect Robbie Ray back in the next week.

Robbie Ray struck out 11 batters in his rehab start on Thursday night for the Arizona Diamondbacks High-A team the Visalia Rawhide.

Ray threw 80 pitches in 4.2 innings in the Rawhide’s loss to the Modesto Nuts (Seattle Mariners) on Thursday. He allowed four hits and two earned runs in the 4-1 loss.

The 11 strikeouts were only part of Ray’s 58-strikes in 80 pitches.

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Ray has been on the DL as part of the league’s concussion protocol after being hit in the head with a line drive back on July 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Three of the Diamondbacks most serious injuries to Ray, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed all came in series against the Cardinals this season.

The left-hander pitched in a simulated game on Aug. 12, after which the team announced his rehab start.

Before his injury, Ray was having a career season. At 9-5, with a 3.11 ERA, Ray earned over 150 strikeouts and his first bid to the All-Star game in July.  

The Diamondbacks filled his spot in the rotation with rookie lefty Anthony Banda (1-3) who showed promise early, but fell apart in his last start against the Houston Astros.

Banda was slated to start on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins. The Diamondbacks announced they had optioned the 24-year-old to the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Reno before Thursday’s game.

Despite his 80-pitch performance, Ray won’t be given Banda’s Sunday start. However, it is likely that Ray could return early next week to face the New York Mets.

Manager Torey Lovullo could decide to save him for a return at home against the San Francisco Giants, but they have still yet to announce who will start on Sunday.

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Ray’s much-anticipated return couldn’t come at a better time, as the team’s offense looks alive again and the rotation needs the boost. With nine series coming up against division rivals, they will need all the help they can get.