Delayed in Cuba, Rays eventually made it home around 5 a.m.
The Rays' historic trip to Cuba lasted a little bit longer than they had planned, as a series of delays, including a mechanical issue with one of their chartered planes, delayed their arrival in Tampa until about 5 a.m.
As a result, the Rays will send a mostly minor league team and coaching staff to Fort Myers to face the Twins today, although RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who didn't make the trip, is still scheduled to pitch. Manager Kevin Cash had been planning to go, but will not.
(UPDATE: Turns out Cash and 3B coach Charlie Montoyo are making the trip to Fort Myers. And the Rays are starting LHP Dana Eveland, with Ramirez scheduled in relief. See separate blog post for more.)
Also, a planned workout at the Trop for position players who were on the trip has also been canceled. The original plan was that the bulk of the group that played in Havana on Tuesday would work out at the Trop on Wednesday and then play in the Thursday night game in Tampa.
Related, the Rays also decided that ace RHP Chris Archer won't pitch against the AL East rival Yankees in that Thursday game but will instead work in an intrasquad game.
The Rays had two planes leaving Havana after the game. The one carrying ownership, team executives, sponsors, media and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was delayed a few hours, landing at 10:30 p.m.
The second plane, carrying players, coaches and front office staff was initially delayed while the party milled about the small airport, then on the scheduled plane — and then, when a mechanical issue was discovered, had to switch to a different plane. All told it took them about 7 hours to make the 55-minute flight.