Sunday: As expected, Díaz was indeed activated prior to today’s game.
Saturday: The Rays are set to reinstate infielder Yandy Diaz from the injured list on Sunday, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Since Diaz was transferred to the 60-day IL, the Rays will need to make room on the 40-man roster. That corresponding move has yet to be announced.
Diaz appeared in an instructional league game yesterday and made six plate appearances, evidently showing enough improvement to lead to his activation. In Sunday’s season finale, he’ll be limited to DH/pinch-hit duties, per Topkin.
Diaz hasn’t suited up for the Rays since late July, when he landed on the injured list with a left foot contusion. He suffered a setback in his recovery from that injury and was held out of baseball activities for nearly two months as a result of a hairline fracture in his left foot.
With his return, Diaz could factor into postseason play for the Rays, who last night clinched a Wild Card appearance. The 28-year-old could be of particular value in that one-game matchup against the A’s, when lefty Sean Manaea could take the hill. Diaz has done superb work against southpaws all season, slashing .311/.393/.583 when he has a platoon advantage.
Overall, the extended absence of Diaz was a frustrating development for the Rays, who had been enjoying a fine breakout season from Diaz after he was unearthed in an offseason trade with the Indians. Though he only got into 78 games for his new club, he finally showcased the raw power that made him a Statcast darling prior to his arrival in Tampa. After hitting just one home run in his first two big-league seasons, he broke through with 14 round-trippers this season.
With one game to go this year, he’s batting .270/.343/.480 overall. He could share time at the hot corner with Matt Duffy, who has filled in capably for 44 games after Diaz went down. Duffy has fared well against right-handers, making for a logical pairing to platoon with Diaz at third base.