By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Tampa Bay Rays reliever Tommy Hunter (calf) made his first rehab appearance Tuesday with the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Hunter tossed 21 pitches in one inning of work, and allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out three Daytona Tortugas while consistently hitting 95 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“You don’t want to put those guys in a hole like that,” Hunter said. “The calf felt good and hopefully it stays this way for a while. … It was good to get back out there finally. It’s been a layoff and it’s always fun to get out there and throw.”
The right-hander easily could have escaped his outing without surrendering a run.
Leadoff batter Alfredo Rodriguez hit a single toward third base, which potentially might have been stopped by a major league third baseman. Rodriguez later came around to score on a ground out.
Hunter’s second run allowed came on a wild pitch strikeout, which catcher Brett Sullivan couldn’t keep in front of him.
He struck out the next batter to end the inning.
“I’d take no runs over the three strikeouts, but it’s part of the game,” Hunter said.
As of now, there is no plan to return to the Rays. Hunter will see how he feels when he wakes up in the morning, and could potentially throw another inning with the Stone Crabs before heading back to Tampa.
“I think it’s wait and see,” Hunter said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a few talks to see if I come back to do another one or what the next step is.”
The 30-year-old last pitched in a game on April 22 against Houston. That’s when he hurt his right calf, on a play where he attempted to cover first base.
He had made 10 appearances prior to being placed on the disabled list. He totaled 8 1/3 innings pitched, allowed just one earned run in that span and struck out six batters.