ST. PETERSBURG — There has been a lot said about centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier’s decision to range far to his right — about 115 feet, per MLB.com — and jump in front of leftfielder Randy Arozarena to make a catch and unsuccessful throw home in the sixth inning Tuesday.
But the person most impacted, Arozarena, said Wednesday that he had no issues with Kiermaier doing so.
“That’s just a situation in the game that happens. First and foremost, I’m glad that we won the game,” Arozarena said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “Of course we talked about it. There’s some situations in a game you can’t control. KK and I are great together. There’s no problem between us.”
Arozarena said he was expecting to make the catch and acknowledged he was somewhat surprised Kiermaier also was there.
“I felt like I was under it. I was camped under it, ready to make the play,” Arozarena said. “But he’s the centerfielder, and he came in. I think it could have happened to anybody.”
Manager Kevin Cash said he had no concerns over any fallout from the incident.
“You’ve got two guys that are really motivated to make a play. I think we can appreciate both sides of it,” Cash said. “To KK’s point, we know how talented he is in the outfield and what he can do. And then on the flip side, Randy was probably more shocked and surprised than anything that somebody was over there. He’s probably never played with a centerfielder that has even had the ability to get over there.
“So it’s something that I’m sure they’ll talk through. But, no, I don’t see any concern whatsoever. I was excited we won the ballgame and excited with the effort on all the guys.”
Head sent down, rotation adjusted
Reliever Louis Head, who made his inspiring major-league debut Sunday at age 31, was sent down after Wednesday’s game, clearing space for Shane McClanahan to be added to the roster to start Thursday.
With McClanahan coming up, the Rays will push back their rotation, with Ryan Yarbrough going to Friday, where he will either start or work bulk innings behind an opener against the Astros.
Cash said in the middle of playing 17 straight days the extra help is welcomed. “Nobody’s going to get skipped,” he said. “It’s not the worst thing to bump our guys back. It’s a heavy workload, might be our thickest workload as far as no off days throughout the entire season. So it’s a lot to ask guys to pitch on turn every single time right out of the gate.”
Pete Fairbanks looked very good testing his previously strained shoulder in a bullpen session Wednesday and may advance to facing hitters this weekend. He has the potential, if all goes well, to accompany the Rays on their West Coast trip that starts Monday and be activated sometime during the week. “We’re excited where he’s at,” Cash said.
The Rays also may soon see the return of Collin McHugh (back) and lefty Cody Reed (thumb), who are slated to face hitters Thursday in Port Charlotte. Cash said that could be enough for Reed to be activated, while McHugh may get an additional outing to simulate working multiple innings.
Number of the day
7 Consecutive games played by the Rays decided by two or fewer runs, the fifth time they’ve had that many in a row (Aug. 21-28, 2020) and two shy of their team record, set April 15-24, 2007
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