Randy Arozarena Returns to Tampa Bay Rays' Lineup Following Hamstring Injury

The Tampa Bay Rays didn't have Randy Arozarena in their starting lineup the past two games due to right hamstring tightness, but the left fielder is batting second against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Jun 5, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56) looks on against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park.
Jun 5, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56) looks on against the Miami Marlins during the ninth inning at loanDepot Park. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Randy Arozarena is returning to the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup for Thursday's game against the Chicago Cubs, according to the team's official lineup card.

Arozarena did not start against the Cubs on either Tuesday or Wednesday due to right hamstring tightness, although he was available off the bench. The veteran pinch hit in both contests, but went 0-for-2 overall.

The 29-year-old is starting in left field and batting second Thursday. Now that Arozarena is back, Richie Palacios has been pushed back to the bench.

Arozarena's absence didn't hurt the Rays as much as it would have in past years, considering just how slow of a start he has gotten off to in 2024.

Through 66 appearances, Arozarena is batting .174 with eight home runs, 20 RBI, seven stolen bases, a .599 OPS and a -0.4 WAR. His batting average ranks dead last among all qualified players in MLB, and his OPS ranks 145th out of 150.

That is quite the departure from Arozarena's numbers over the past few years, starting with his star-making run in the 2020 postseason. From there, Arozarena won AL Rookie of the Year in 2021 and made the All-Star Game in 2023.

Between 2020 and 2023, Arozarena was a .264 hitter with an .801 OPS, averaging 24 home runs, 87 RBI, 27 stolen bases and a 3.8 WAR per 162 games.

Prior to this latest hamstring injury, it looked like Arozarena was starting to approach that level of production again. While he has recorded zero home runs and one RBI in June, he is batting a far more respectable .286 with an .802 since the start of the month.

Here is the Rays' full starting lineup for Thursday's game against the Cubs:

1. Yandy Díaz, 1B
2. Randy Arozarena, LF
3. Brandon Lowe, 2B
4. Isaac Paredes, 3B
5. Ahmed Rosario, DH
6. Jose Siri, CF
7. José Caballero, SS
8. Jonny DeLuca, RF
9. Alex Jackson, C
SP: Taj Bradley, RHP

First pitch is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. ET.

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Sam Connon

SAM CONNON

Sam Connon is a Staff Writer for Fastball on the Sports Illustrated/FanNation networks. He previously covered UCLA Athletics for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Bruins, 247Sports' Bruin Report Online, Rivals' Bruin Blitz, the Bleav Podcast Network and the Daily Bruin, with his work as a sports columnist receiving awards from the College Media Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Connon also wrote for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's New England Patriots site, Patriots Country, and he was on the Patriots and Boston Red Sox beats at Prime Time Sports Talk.