Why there is a lot of frustration for Rays’ Yandy Diaz and Indians’ Jake Bauers

Traded for each other, Diaz is down about not being to face ex-mates while Bauers has been battling to get going.
The Rays' Yandy Diaz singles during the fifth inning on May 15, 2019, as Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro looks on in Miami. [LYNNE SLADKY   |   Associated Press]
The Rays' Yandy Diaz singles during the fifth inning on May 15, 2019, as Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro looks on in Miami. [LYNNE SLADKY | Associated Press]
Published May 23
Updated May 23

CLEVELAND — Yandy Diaz had good reason to be disappointed Thursday.

First, the pain in his left hand from being hit by a pitch Sunday against the Yankees was still significant enough that the Rays decided to put him on the 10-day injured list.

Second, it happened as he was set to face his former Indians mates, wanting to show them what they missed out on by trading him to the Rays.

“Obviously it’s a little disappointing,’’ he said via team translator Manny Navarro. “That’s not something I wanted, but that’s what came out of the situation. It’s just bad timing.’’

Diaz has much to be proud of, hitting .256 with nine homers and 22 RBIs for the Rays.

Though Diaz said he had “a good experience” with the Indians, who signed him after he came over from Cuba, he said his improvement is due to the Rays giving him more of a chance.

“It was definitely the opportunity to play every day and having the mentality knowing I’m going to be playing every day,’’ he said.

The player he was traded for, Jake Bauers, is struggling a bit with the opportunity he’s getting with the Indians, hitting .221 with five homers, 17 RBIs and a .656 OPS.

“It’s tough,’’ Bauers said, noting the impact of the cold weather and occasional work as the designated hitter, as he was in Thursday’s 7-2 loss to the Rays (0-for-4, two strikeouts).

“Starting the year like that is not ideal, it’s not comfortable, it’s not easy. But you grind it out.’’

Bauers said he had no bad feelings or ambitions of revenge and was just happy to see his ex-mates.

“There’s some guys over there I didn’t just play with the back half of last year, but I played with the past four, five years (in the Rays’ minor-league system),’’ he said.

“To play against them and compete against them, I’m looking forward to it.’’

Duffy’s latest setback

Matt Duffy’s return is on hold again after he felt discomfort during a Wednesday rehab game in the left hamstring that has sidelined him since spring training. A Thursday MRI exam on the hamstring didn’t show much, and Duffy will have more tests.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Duffy didn’t leave the game due to anything traumatic. It was more for precautionary reasons after he felt something not right while standing in the outfield.

Still, it’s another delay when Duffy seemed on track for a possible return Monday.

“It’s bad,’’ Cash said. “He’s getting close. He’s a week away from where he could be activated. He’s still feeling it. That’s not how we drew it up.’’

Cash said all parties, including Duffy, have done “everything in their power to get him back,’’ but it “just has not gone his way to this point.’’

Quote of the day

“Not now. They’re too good. Not going to (mess) with him.’’

- Indians manager Terry Francona, claiming he won’t continue with his usual pranking and teasing of Cash, his good buddy. Cash, by the way, wasn’t buying it.

Miscellany

• Infielder Daniel Robertson left the game in the fifth after experiencing an allergic reaction. A Rays spokesman said Robertson had a severe nut allergy and before the game he had eaten a sweet potato dish that he didn’t know contained pecan crumbles.

• Kevin Kiermaier’s inside-the-park home run, the result of a collision between Cleveland outfielders Leonys Martin and Gaither High product Oscar Mercado, was the second of his career. It was the Rays’ first since Denard Span had one April 28, 2018, and the first allowed by the Indians since 2008. Mercado, called up last week, ended up leaving the game with a hip contusion.

• Thursday marked the first time in franchise history, per Stats LLC, that the Rays had three players homer in consecutive games: Tommy Pham, Avisail Garcia and Kiermaier. It was last done in the majors by the Mariners in 2017.

• The Rays are a majors-best 16-7 on the road, including 8-1 in series openers.

• Willy Adames was a triple short of the cycle for the Rays.

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