Rays’ Randy Arozarena has new look, same plans

Rays notes | The record-breaking outfielder says he’d like to stick around. Also, an update on Ji-Man Choi’s surgery.
Published Apr. 1, 2021|Updated Apr. 1, 2021

MIAMI — Randy Arozarena sported a stunning new look Wednesday, cutting off most of his hair and dyeing what was left a bright blond.

“New flow, new season,” he explained via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

Not that Arozarena doesn’t already get enough attention.

His amazing record-smashing run through the postseason — a .377 average, 29 hits, 10 homers, 14 RBIs and a 1.273 OPS in 20 games — have made his at-bats as close to must-see as the Rays have had in a while.

Speculation about what he will do over a full season is a major topic of conversation around the game. And there is the administrative oddity of him winning the American League Championship Series MVP award yet still being eligible to win 2021 Rookie of the Year honors.

Arozarena said Wednesday he’s not really concerned about any of that.

“I’m very happy with the season starting (Thursday), and obviously I was very happy with the results that I had last year,” he said. “But like I’ve said before, I like to play day by day. … The past is now the past, tomorrow’s a new day, and that’s the day I’m worried about now.”

Arozarena, 26, also confirmed he was among the players the Rays have had their usual exploratory talks with about long-terms deals, though none are considered close. He said he’d like to stick around and win a World Series with the team.

“I’m very happy here,” he said. “As far as the business side of things, I don’t know much, so I let my agent kind of handle that kind of stuff. But I’m just here to give 100-percent effort. That’s my job here.”

Manager Kevin Cash, while pleased with Arozarena’s spring work despite a .237 average, no homers and 11 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances, was not a fan of Arozarena’s new look.

“I don’t know why he did that; it was a bad idea, but whatever,” Cash said, suggesting Arozarena now looked like the singer Sisqo, the same reference he made when Yandy Diaz reported to camp with a similar blond look.

“(Arozarena’s) spring was fine. Everything that Randy showed us last year, I think he kind of picked right up where he kind of left off. Just that feeling in the box when he walks up to the plate, the work that he put in in the cages with (hitting coaches Ozzie Timmons and Chad Mottola). So I feel like he’s in a good spot and should be just another big part of a solid team.”

Ji-Man Choi has surgery, eyes May return

First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s arthroscopic right knee surgery included removal of loose bodies, as expected, but also cleaning up of frayed tissue from his meniscus cartilage that Dr. Koco Eaton found during the procedure. That made for relatively good news, as the Rays said the timetable for Choi’s return remains four-five weeks, so likely early May. “It’s unfortunate that there’s something (wrong) in there,” Cash said. “The good part is that we found something. The worst thing would have been to go in there, not see anything, and then now where are we at?” This way, Cash said, Choi should be “in a better mindset” for his rehab.

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Rays ready to roll

The Rays went through a 90-minute workout late Wednesday afternoon so they could get a feel for the look of a 4:10 p.m. start. … Rosters are due at noon Thursday, and Cash said no changes are planned to the 26-man group that appeared set Sunday. … The five-man taxi squad for this trip includes catcher Joseph Odom, infielders Kevin Padlo and Taylor Walls, and pitchers David Hess and Chris Mazza.


• The team’s radio broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia Tampa Bay was extended through the 2025 season, keeping WDAE as the flagship station and adding a streaming option via and the iHeartRadio app) for listeners in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

• TV coverage on Bally Sports Sun (formerly Fox Sports Sun) starts at 11 a.m. with a national opening-day whip-around style show, followed by the Rays Live pregame show at 3:30 p.m.

• Marlins Park on Wednesday was renamed LoanDepot Park.

• The Rays are offering fans a “digital version” of an AL championship ring; see Actual replica rings are available, along with other items, for joining the AL Champions Club ($199, $149 for Season Members).

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