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D-backs notebook: Ray closer to a return, Peralta a first-time father

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, July 28, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

PHOENIX – The road map, as manager Torey Lovullo likes to call it, for the return of Arizona Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray became a little more clear on Monday.

Lovullo announced that his All-Star left-hander is scheduled for a minor-league rehab assignment.

Ray will start for the Visalia Rawhide on Thursday, nearly three weeks to the day in which he was struck on the head by a line drive.

“We had a lot of discussions about what direction we can go in and what we should, and we felt like that was the best situation for Robbie and the best situation for what we need to do as an organization to help him be ready for the challenges of getting back here,” Lovullo said Monday, prior to the series opener against the Houston Astros.

Ray’s appearance with the D-backs’ Single-A affiliate will mark his second time facing hitters. Last Saturday, he threw four innings and 50 pitches in a simulated game at Salt River Fields.

Ray, who is 9-5 with a 3.11 ERA in 20 starts this season, has not pitched in a major-league game since July 28, when he was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of the Cardinals’ Luke Voit.

The ball speed coming off the bat was 108 mph.

Fortunately for Ray, he was only briefly hospitalized; just long enough to get stitches. The very next day the D-backs placed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

“We miss him,” Lovullo said. “We know that he’s feeling very good. We’re excited about that, but these are delicate things. You have to really take your time with it and Robbie is on a very good path.”

Peralta receives quite the birthday present

The day Aug. 14 was already a special one for D-backs outfielder David Peralta. It’s his birthday. Now, it’s also his daughter’s birthday.

Peralta and his wife, Jordan, welcomed their first child Monday morning, a daughter named Sofia.

The D-backs placed Peralta, who is celebrating his 30th birthday, on the paternity leave list and recalled right-handed reliever J.J. Hoover from Triple-A Reno.

Peralta will miss at least one day and a maximum of three, according to Lovullo.

“I spoke with David this morning and he said he hadn’t slept all night. We’re going to support David and know that he’s with his family and that’s the important thing right now,” Lovullo said.”

BASE HITS

— A day after allowing four runs on four hits including three home runs in 1.2 innings against the Cubs, right-handed reliever Jake Barrett found himself back in the minors.

The D-backs optioned Barrett to Triple-A Reno and recalled right-handed reliever Silvino Bracho. This is Bracho’s sixth stint with the D-backs this season.

“He had some really good moments,” Lovullo said, referring to Barrett, “but we felt like yesterday it was probably something that was needed where he went down and just got himself sharpened up again. And we’ll see him again, and we know that. Jake’s got great stuff. It’s been a grinding year for him, but I think we’ll see him a lot sooner than later.”

— Following this brief two-game series with the Astros, the D-backs will play five straight games in American League cities, which means the use of the designated hitter.

The D-backs will play in Houston and then head to Minnesota for three games.

“I haven’t mapped out perfect matchups yet,” said Lovullo, who mentioned Daniel Descalso, Chris Herrmann and Chris Iannetta as candidates to DH. There’s also the possibility one of the regulars, like first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, is used in that role to give that player a partial day off.

“We’re going to maximize our ability to score runs with whoever is going to be the DH for that day,” Lovullo said.

— Coming up on Sept. 12, the D-backs will host Suns Night, which will features several Phoenix Suns elements, including the Gorilla, Suns dancers and players taking part in batting practice plus throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Head coach Earl Watson was at Chase Field on Monday to help promote the event.

“It’s like I’m reliving my dream,” he said, explaining baseball was his first love growing up in Kansas City. “Having the chance to be here at the clubhouse, building this relationship and having an extension of the D-backs with the Suns is a dream come true.”

Watson was presented his very own D-backs jersey, No. 25, the number he wore for much of his 13-year NBA career.

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