ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are doubling up Tuesday.
The single-admission traditional doubleheader with a 3:10 start will be just the third at Tropicana Field in their 22-season history.
The decision was made Saturday for the proper reasons due to potential impact from Hurricane Dorian, and in concert with MLB and the Orioles.
The teams were originally scheduled for single games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. By doubling up, they essentially created a bigger window to get the games in (since had the weather been severe Tuesday they could have been moved to Wednesday, which is now an off day), plus a better opportunity for the Orioles to get home.
But doing so will cause some complications for the Rays already challenged pitching staff.
The Rays considered, but declined, to bump Ryan Yarbrough, one of their two fulltime starters, from Monday to Tuesday. Which means they will using quite a few of the other 16 pitchers currently on their roster.
Trevor Richards will start the first game, and then it will be pretty much a call to arms, likely with more of a “bullpen day” look to the second game than a structured opener/bulk guy. Just-called-up Anthony Banda and Austin Pruitt, on a day short rest, are among those who could cover multiple innings.
“One view is we get an off-day, which is welcomed,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “The other is that you know any time you play a doubleheader you’re going to go through a lot of pitching. … I think ultimately it’s going to be a net positive, but things have to go well for us.’’
The Rays hosted a Sept. 30, 2004, doubleheader against Detroit after two games were postponed earlier that month due to the threat of Hurricane Frances, and one on June 10, 2017, vs. Oakland they scheduled as a novelty. This will be their fifth doubleheader this season, most in team history. Overall, the Rays are 4-14-13 in doubleheaders, and 1-4-5 in “traditional” doubleheaders vs. day-night split doubleheaders.
Happy birthday to Willy
Shortstop Willy Adames got an early, and unexpected, start to his 24th birthday celebration Monday. Coming off the field after the fourth inning, he was greeted by signs and cheers from a couple dozen fans in Section 120 next to the Rays dugout. Similar to the birthday celebration they had for first base coach Ozzie Timmons last year, the fans held up a variety of Adames masks. “It was so cool, I definitely wasn’t expecting that,’’ Adames said. “I’m really grateful and blessed to have them there. We’re always talking, making fun of each other, they’re good people. I need to think of something to do for them to thank them.’’
Banda’s back, and with all the feels
Banda may not have a major role with the Rays, but his return to active duty Monday, less than 15 months after Tommy John surgery, was significant and somewhat emotional.
Banda, 26, said the rehab process was arduous physically and mentally, marked by rewarding ups and challenging downs. Rays staff and teammate Jose De Leon, on a similar rehab schedule, provided help and guidance.
But Banda’s biggest inspiration, especially on the toughest days, came in a small package, his 8-month-old son Ayden.
“He’s more of a reason of why I push myself even further and just take one more day and one more day, because I don’t want him to think I just gave up,’’ said Banda, who was 2-3, 6.06 at Triple-A Durham.
The Rays also activated Cole Sulser, the 29-year-old reliever who will be making his big-league debut, and designated for assignment pitcher Aaron Slegers to make room on the 40-man roster. At least one other move is expected Tuesday, as outfielder Guillermo Heredia is eligible to be called back up after spending the requisite 10 days in the minors.
Number of the day
Performance by hitters in the Nos. 4-9 slots in Rays order Monday.
* Tyler Glasnow threw 33 pitches in retiring four of eight batters for Durham Monday in his second and potentially last rehab outing before rejoining the Rays later this week. He walked two and struck out three, hitting 97-99 mph.
* Durham lost its season finale but still advanced to the International League playoffs that start Wednesday. Double-A Montgomery, Class A Bowling Green and short-season Class A Hudson Valley also reached the playoffs, and advanced Class A Charlotte would have but the Florida State League canceled the postseason.
* Cash said it was “just a day off” for centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, not a recurrence of the ribcage muscle bruised that sidelined him for four-plus games until returning Saturday.
* Veteran outfielder Avisail Garcia was behind Sunday’s touching gesture to have Rays players come out of the dugout to applaud Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco on his return to action from a leukemia diagnosis.
Staff writer John Romano contributed to this report. Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.