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Rays’ Chaz Roe: Blister is an issue, coronavirus speculation is not

Rays notebook: Jose Alvarado shows something throwing to hitters in live batting practice; simulated games up next.
Rays pitcher Chaz Roe warms up on the field during a workout Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
Rays pitcher Chaz Roe warms up on the field during a workout Tuesday at Tropicana Field. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jul. 7, 2020
Updated Jul. 7, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays reliever Chaz Roe was not on the field for the first three days of workouts due to an infection in a blister on the middle finger of his right hand.

Roe said the blister became an issue last week before he was planning to head to St. Petersburg, and the athletic training staff advised him — in part due to the coronavirus threat — to stay at his Kentucky home until it healed.

“Just a precaution with an open wound and stuff going around, they advised me to stay home until we get it cleared up,” he said.

Related: Rays 2020 schedule is out. It presents challenges.

He delayed his arrival until Saturday and said he was cleared by a doctor to join the group on the field Monday, where he played catch in the outfield wearing a mask. He did so again Tuesday at Tropicana Field, is slated to work off the mound Wednesday, and will only have missed a week of throwing, with no concerns.

“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s completely healed. There’s a little bit of scarring. Other than that, it’s all good.”

Given the situation with players undergoing COVID-19 testing every other day and being screened for symptoms daily, any absence can raise speculation — fair or not — that it is for virus-related reasons, a positive or delayed test, symptoms, or exposure to someone who has it.

“I really don’t care what people speculate,” Roe said. “It’s a virus that goes around. It’s going to happen. People are going to catch it. It’s just a matter of people being smart about it and going about their business the right way.”

Roe was among a group of five players who had not been seen on the field for any workouts; the status of outfielder Randy Arozarena, infielder Jose Martinez and pitchers Yonny Chirinos and Tyler Glasnow remains unclear. The same goes for outfielder Austin Meadows, who participated in Friday’s workout and has not been seen on the field since. (For what it’s worth, Martinez posted on Instagram with the shrug emoji, gtrop, which translates from Spanish to More questions fewer answers.)

Also worth noting is that some players are working out elsewhere at the Trop besides the main field during the four-hour media access window. The team has declined to say which players are present or absent, or why.

Related: Baseball hasn’t even started, and it’s already looking shaky

Roe is taking further precautions by having his wife, Sarah, and their three young children stay home rather than join him in St. Petersburg as they would otherwise.

“Just to be safe for my family and other people at the field, I think it’s just the best idea to keep the families away as much as possible,” Roe said.

Not all the players agree, as infielder Joey Wendle said his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children came down with him from Pennsylvania.

“That was a decision we made. We wanted to be together as a family,” he said. “We feel like we’re able to do that responsibly, and that’s what we did.”

Catcher Mike Zunino also has his wife and two young children with him. Charlie Morton lives at home in Bradenton with his wife and four kids 7 and under.

Batting practice goes live

Rays manager Kevin Cash talks with his team while hitting balls to them from the cage during a workout Tuesday.
Rays manager Kevin Cash talks with his team while hitting balls to them from the cage during a workout Tuesday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Anthony Banda, Oliver Drake, Andrew Kittredge and Jose Alvarado threw the first live batting practice sessions on the main field, with previous work done in the lab area underneath the stands. Manager Kevin Cash was pleased with the overall pitching and hitting, noting how Alvarado missed badly on his first two pitches to Yoshi Tsutsugo, then locked in on the zone. “Really encouraged,‘' Cash said. … The Rays had a portable Trackman device set up behind the plate for the sessions which provides pitching coach Kyle Snyder immediate feedback via an iPad on the pitch location, velocity, spin rate and other data.

Quote of the day

“Bizarre is the first word that comes to mind.‘'

— Infielder Joey Wendle, on the workouts amid distancing rules, mask-wearing and other COVID-19 precautions


Wednesday is the first of two days of simulated games, with Cash saying Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough are slated to throw about four innings, with some players in defensive positions (to get used to being on their feet more) but no base-running. …. A couple players from the group of 25 working out in Port Charlotte are likely to come up for Thursday’s session at the Trop. … Cash said the staff overall has been impressed enough with the physical conditioning and readiness of the players that it plans to ramp up the intensity of the workouts to “challenge them more.” … Nate Lowe has gotten most of his work thus far at third base but is still considered primarily a first baseman and will play at both spots, Cash said.