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Rays’ Yandy Diaz says Yankees hit him intentionally; Daniel Robertson relieved he wasn’t hurt

The two hit batters continue what has been a raised level of tension between the teams fueled by New York’s CC Sabathia.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, left, watches as Daniel Robertson is examined by a trainer after being hit by a pitch thrown by the Yankees' Chad Green during the second inning Sunday, May 19, 2019. [KATHY WILLENS | Associated Press]
Published May 19
Updated May 20

NEW YORK — Rays infielder Daniel Robertson was thankful he wasn’t hurt worse after being hit by a pitch that knocked off his helmet Sunday.

Teammate Yandy Diaz was not as forgiving, saying he felt he was hit intentionally on the side of his left hand in the seventh by Yankees reliever Chance Adams.

“Yeah,’’ Diaz said, via translator Manny Navarro. “I don’t know (why). Maybe because I hit two home runs off them at home (on May 11).’’

Diaz, one of the team’s most productive hitters, was initially worried and still quite sore, but X-rays were negative and he is day to day, hopeful of playing Tuesday.

“At first I thought I might have broken my wrist,’’ he said. “Of course it’s frustrating. There isn’t anything you can do about it. It happened.

Diaz said he “hopefully” will get the chance for revenge.

Robertson was sprawled in front of home plate after being hit flush on the side of his helmet by a 94 mph fastball from Chad Green.

“Obviously it scared the poop out of me,’’ Robertson said. “It got me pretty good. Thankfully, as of now, I’m not feeling any effects from it. Just thankful it was nothing too crazy, and it seems I’m going to be all right.’’

Robertson said he did not think Green hit him on purpose, noting the situation, a 1-and-2 pitch early in the game (although he was Green’s last hitter).

“Obviously it’s not intentional,’’ Robertson said. “That guy likes to live away and up, so I was setting my sights out there and just tried to get out of the way best I can. Thankfully it didn’t square me up in the face and it got the helmet.’’

The hit batters came amid some escalated tension between the teams, primarily created by Yankees veteran lefty CC Sabathia, who said he tried to hit Austin Meadows on Friday and said last weekend that “it’s stupid” that Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos hit two Yankees in the May 11 game at the Trop.

No Jakin’

The Rays have another two-way experiment player in the works, using Triple-A Durham infielder Jake Cronenworth as a pitcher, with a scoreless one-inning debut Saturday. Cronenworth pitched regularly in college at Michigan (3.34 ERA in 55 games), and the Rays brought up the idea during spring training of him going back to do both. While playing, quite well, hitting .367 mostly at shortstop for the Bulls, he also has been working on the mound. He hit 94-96 mph Saturday, striking out one and walking two. He has a swing-and-miss quality curveball.

“His stuff has graded our pretty well,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It would be a nice weapon if it clicks. Interesting to see how that develops.’’

Rough start

Starter Charlie Morton had a rough, and short, day, lasting only four innings as he threw 88 pitches, walked four and allowed four hits, including a two-run homer. “Four innings work is terrible,’’ he said. “Wasn’t locating with anything.’’

Quote of the day

“It doesn’t need a cake.’’

—Ryne Stanek, the Rays’ primary opener, on Sunday being the first birthday for the team’s innovate pitching strategy

Number of the day

9 Walks by Rays pitchers, their most since 10 in a July 2018 game. “You’re not going to win when you walk nine guys,’’ manager Kevin Cash said.

Miscellany

• Matt Duffy could be a legit option at shortstop after he completes his rehab from a hamstring injury, which included a 3-for-4 as a DH Sunday, a double shy of the cycle. Duffy, expected to move up to Durham this week, has played shortstop in the minors and was going to play there when acquired in 2016, but he got hurt. Given the inconsistent play of Willy Adames and backup Daniel Robertson, why not?

• Stanek likely will be the opener Tuesday, with Jalen Beeks handling the bulk of the innings as the Rays host the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw.

• Andrew Velazquez would have liked a better result than making the final out in his only at-bat, but for a kid who grew up, still lives and has lots of relatives and friends in the Bronx, playing at Yankee Stadium was a big deal. “It counts,’’ he said.

• Rays pitchers had allowed five earned runs over their previous four games before allowing 11 Sunday, seven in the sixth inning alone.

• The Rays are 6-16 at Yankee Stadium since the start of 2017.

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