Live from Port Charlotte: Yandy Diaz muscles way in to Rays camp

Rays have a full camp with all 66 players reporting ahead of Monday’s first full-squad workout.
Yandy Diaz's well-muscled arms were a topic of conversation upon his arrival in camp Sunday. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Yandy Diaz's well-muscled arms were a topic of conversation upon his arrival in camp Sunday. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Published February 17
Updated February 18

PORT CHARLOTTE — Yandy Diaz arrived in Rays camp Sunday and made an immediate impression with his well-muscled arms.

Acquired from Cleveland in the Jake Bauers trade, Diaz is known as something of a workout fiend, and more than a few players were checking out the product of his work.

“Wow,’’ shortstop Willy Adames said. “I was just talking to a couple guys about that. How is he that big?”

RELATED: Have you heard the stories about new Rays pitcher Charlie Morton? There are some good ones.

Diaz seemed a bit embarrassed by the attention, as well as when an interview shifted from his opportunity for playing time with the Rays to his arms.

“I’m too skinny,’’ the Cuban native joked in Spanish, with team interpreter Manny Navarro translating. “I need a little bit more.”

Diaz said he was excited about coming to the Rays and getting a chance to play regularly in the majors — at first, third and designated hitter — after going back and forth between the minors and majors with the Indians.

And while he said he does spend 4-5 days a week in the weight room working out, he is actually looking to drop a few pounds, reporting to camp at 224 pounds but planning to play at 217-220.

Smile for the camera

Sunday was photo day, which included some fun amid the usual sequence of posed shots. Lefty Ryan Yarbrough did a bit with the Rays Rookies kids crew where he had to maneuver an Oreo from his forehead to his mouth without using his hands, and succeeded twice. “Hidden talent I didn’t know I had,” Yarbrough said.

Spring things

• Relief candidate Ian Gibaut said an MRI exam of his right lat showed “everything was intact,” so it will be a matter of rest and healing for him to get back on the mound, with no timetable yet. Manager Kevin Cash said they will know more after a specialist looks at the results.

• With outfielders Tommy Pham and Jesus Sanchez, shortstop Lucius Fox and Diaz reporting, the Rays had all 66 players in camp before Monday’s first full-squad workout.

• Cash was impressed again with relief candidate Emilio Pagan’s bullpen session, and he noted the work of side-arming lefties Adam Kolarek and Hoby Milner.

• Catchers threw to the bases for the first time in camp, and through a heavy stiff wind. “We’ve got some guys that can throw, and that’s exciting,” Cash said.

• Top starters Blake Snell and Charlie Morton were among the pitchers throwing bullpen sessions Sunday.

Number of the day

4

Over/under in minutes on the length of Cash’s speech Monday to the full squad. Cash said take the under.

On deck

The first full-squad workout starts at 11 a.m. Monday and lasts 2-2½ hours at the Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road), with the first live batting practice sessions of camp. There also will be free fan activities. For information: (941) 235-5025.

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