NEW YORK — The diagnosis on catcher Mike Zunino’s left arm and shoulder issue has shifted to thoracic outlet syndrome, manager Kevin Cash said. The hope is that a Botox injection will be enough to get him back on track and avoid needing surgery.
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Other injured Rays included good news about Wander Franco, bad news about Brandon Lowe, and the status quo on Kevin Kiermaier.
Zunino was forced to miss last week because of weakness and tingling in the arm. The search for the cause also included neck and shoulder issues.
“It sounds like we’re back on the thoracic outlet avenue,”Cash. “He saw (Dr. Tom Tolli Wednesday). I think we’re going to attempt the Botox injection and see if that helps. We won’t know. It’s generally three to six days after to see if (it helps).
“So not a ton of information other than that, ‘Look, we think we found something but we’re not 100 percent behind it.’”
If the Botox regimen doesn’t help or if it only provides short-term relief, surgery can be the next step and likely would sideline Zunino for the rest of the season.
Franco, who was sidelined by a right leg strain on May 31, and limited before that, has been running normally and showing enough improvement to be able to go through full training sessions Thursday and Friday in Port Charlotte. He could potentially be a designated batter in the Florida Complex League. Once he is ready to take the field, he will likely need to play several rehabilitation games at Triple-A Durham.
Lowe, who has been sidelined since May 16th because of a stress reaction to his low back, will not be able to swing until at least the weekend. Cash stated that he “wouldn’t call it a setback” and that the doctor wasn’t “overly concerned. He said Lowe would rest and “take some medicine”With the hope that he feels better Monday.
Kiermaier said the tight left Achilles/calf that forced him from Wednesday’s game felt “maybe slightly better”His goal is to get rest on Thursday and possibly return to the lineup Friday in Baltimore. “I hope I can stand behind that,”He said. “We’ll just kind of see how it goes.”
After a disappointing season debut in Minnesota, Shane Baz will face the Orioles on Friday. He is 23 years old and has been working with Kyle Snyder for a few days. Baz, who was injured in March arthroscopic knee surgery, was forced to retire six Twins. He was then lifted after allowing six of the three-inning’s hitters to reach base and five runners to score. He said that no physical or mechanical changes are necessary and that the focus should be on throwing more strike. “It’s just more of an approach and a commitment to filling up the strike zone,” Baz said.
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Ji-Man Choi came into play Thursday sporting a 13-game hitting streak, which was a career-best. … Though rookie infielder Vidal Brujan had a .151 average and .424 OPS, Cash moved him to the leadoff spot thinking he might be more comfortable since he often hit there in the minors. Brujan was hitless in his first three at-bats. … Friday’s first pitch in Baltimore is at 6:05 p.m. due to a postgame concert featuring Flo Rida. … Major League Baseball reviewed Wednesday’s 16-minute delay, according to the New York Daily News, and reiterated to umpires to be quicker in reaching out to the replay center in rules-check situations.
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