Rays’ Franco, Glasnow make progress, ready to play in minors

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco took batting practice for Triple-A Durham and is ready to play again in his minor league rehabilitation, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash.

Franco went on the injured list July 10 with a right hamate bone injury that required surgery. He was lifted after two at-bats in his second game after resuming his rehabilitation assignment.

Cash said Franco will be in Durham’s lineup. Right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to throw one inning for Durham in his first game since Tommy John surgery.

Franco played part of one game in mid-August for Durham but departed early due to hand soreness and was shut down.

“He wanted to come in today and he hit, 40 to 50 swings, and felt good,” Cash said before the Rays played Boston.

The 21-year-old Franco also missed 23 games earlier this year with a strained right quadriceps. He has a .260 average along with five homers and 23 RBIs in 58 games.

Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million contract in November that includes a club option for 2033. The deal could be worth up to $223 million with incentives if the club option is exercised.

Glasnow, the Rays’ opening day starter in 2021, hasn’t pitched this season. He had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4, 2021 after posting a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts.

Glasnow agreed to a two-year, $30.35 million contract for 2023-24 on Aug, 26.

All-Star starter Shane McClanahan, on the IL with a left shoulder impingement, threw 15 to 20 pitches off a bullpen mound. He is expected to throw again this week.

Cash said “if that goes well” McClanahan could move closer to a return to the rotation.

McClanahan can come off the IL on Sept. 15.

Second baseman Brandon Lowe, on the IL with a right elbow contusion, could be reinstated.

Right-hander Drew Rasmussen was scratched from his scheduled start and placed on the paternity list.

Rays pitching coach Kyle Synder said Rasmussen’s wife gave birth to a son.

Right-hander Yonny Chirinos was reinstated from the 60-day IL. He had Tommy John on Aug, 24, 2020. He had a number of setbacks, including a fractured elbow, during his rehab.

“He’s been on quite the journey,” Cash said. “Give him a lot of credit for the way he’s handed plenty of adversity. Such a good guys, such a good teammate, and really good pitcher.”

Chirinos went 9-5 with a 3.85 ERA in 24 games, including 18 starts, in 2019.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.