Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Chih-Wei Hu has memorable, and long, first day in majors

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BALTIMORE — RHP Chih-Wei Hu's first day in the majors Sunday was not only memorable but quite long.

The excitement actually started around 11 p.m. Saturday, when he got summoned to the lobby of the Louisville, Ky., hotel where the Triple-A Durham team was staying to get the news, then called his parents in Taiwan to tell them.

He tried to sleep until 3:30 a.m., headed to the airport at 4, took a flight at 6 to Atlanta, connected there for another flight to Tampa, made it to the Trop around 10:30, got welcomed and acclimated to the majors, warmed up but didn't get into Sunday's game, then boarded the team plane for another flight to Baltimore, getting to the hotel around 9:30 p.m.

"I feel okay," Hu said. "I'm used to that from the long trip from Taiwan."

Hu made his big-league debut in Monday night's loss to the Orioles, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth though allowing a sacrifice fly.

His promotion was a big deal back home as he is just the 12th Taiwan-born player to reach the majors, and the second active, joining Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen.

"It's very big news," he said. "I got so many phone calls and messages of congratulations."

Hu's parents — assuming he is still in the majors — are planning to come over May 4 when the Rays return home. Meanwhile, Hu is "very excited" to see Chen next week when the Rays play in Miami. "During last offseason, I said to him something like, 'I'll see you in the big leagues,' " Hu said. "Now I want to say to him, 'I made it.' "

'Funky things going on'

CF Kevin Kiermaier was back in the lineup — though still not 100 percent — after a battle with a wicked virus that forced him to leave the Friday and Saturday games and limited him to bench duty Sunday. "It was weird. There was more than just sickness, you can play through that," Kiermaier said. "There were some funky things going on with my body, man, that I just couldn't explain to anyone." Among more typical symptoms such as a sore throat, Kiermaier had trouble focusing and was light-headed, chilly and weak. "I hate when I say this, but I felt like I couldn't help out the team on both sides of the ball," he said, "which is never the case in my mind."

Medical matters

. RHP Jake Odorizzi said he is over the left hamstring strain that landed him on the disabled list and ready to return when eligible Wednesday. But the Rays want him to throw a four-inning simulated game today, which means he likely won't make his return until the next time his slot comes up, on Monday in Miami.

. RHP Tommy Hunter (calf strain) could be sidelined into June.

. LHP Xavier Cedeno (forearm tightness) was seen by team Dr. Koco Eaton and will get a second opinion this week from noted surgeon James Andrews.

. OF Mallex Smith (hamstring) did rehab work in extended spring and will play for the Stone Crabs tonight.

. OF Colby Rasmus (hip surgery), targeting a Friday return in Toronto, continued his rehab at Double-A Montgomery and went 0-for-2.

. SS Matt Duffy (heel surgery) accompanied the team to continue his onfield work, though he still has not run at full speed or on the bases. He is eyeing a mid to late May return.

A coach, too

Coach Jamie Nelson will miss this road trip, and possibly longer, due to what the team said only was "a medical procedure." Nelson, 57, helps with hitting and catching among other duties. Minor-league coach Rafael Valenzuela is filling in.

Quote of the day

"Am I the first right-handed lefty specialist in baseball history?"

RHP Danny Farquhar, who pretty much is that as the Rays don't have a lefty in their bullpen

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