TORONTO — The Rays were prepared to go into the five-game series against the Blue Jays without relievers Brooks Raley and Ryan Thompson, who are not vaccinated and thus not allowed into Canada.
They also ended up without scheduled Thursday starter Jeffrey Springs, who is dealing with what the team called a “family medical emergency.”
“All is OK,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Don’t really want to go too much past that.”
Reliever Matt Wisler served as the opener Thursday, with lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who was called up from Triple-A Durham, working a solid 5⅓ innings, though he allowed a pair of two-run homers in the 4-1 loss.
Though Raley has been one of the Rays’ top relievers of late and Thompson better recently in lower-leverage situations, Cash said the team felt “pretty prepared” for their absence.
“We had conversations with all the players during spring training, leading up to the early part of the season,” Cash said. “We’re going to support whatever each individual chooses or chooses not to do moving forward.”
Right-handers Javy Guerra and USF product Phoenix Sanders, who both had previous stints in the Rays’ pen, were called up from Durham.
“We saw enough of Phoenix (earlier); he’s a strike-thrower, he can help us,” Cash said. “Javy Guerra’s stuff is pretty electric. We want to see if we can find a way to harness it. The reports have been really good for him in Durham.”
Raley and Thompson were placed on the restricted list, meaning they don’t get service time or pay for the days missed, which is based on a 182-day season calendar. So Raley, with a $4.25 million salary, will lose approximately $93,406 over the four days; Thompson, who gets $710,500, about $15,615.
Sanders and Guerra get big-league pay and service time, and their returns to the minors don’t count as an option against the maximum five for the season. For additional depth, right-handers Dusten Knight and David McKay came to Toronto on the taxi squad.
Springs was in the clubhouse before Tuesday’s home game, then got dressed and left quickly. He didn’t accompany the team to Toronto on Wednesday. Thursday, he was placed on the Family Medical Emergency List, where he has to stay for three-seven days. That makes Sunday the soonest he could return; Cash said the team didn’t know yet when he would be available.
More medical: Kiermaier, Zunino, Feyereisen
Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is set to be activated Friday after a minimum 10-day stint on the injured list dealing with left hip inflammation; outfielder Luke Raley seems likely to go. … Catcher Mike Zunino will rest for an additional couple of weeks to see if a Botox shot helps alleviate his symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. Cash said, “We’re not going to see him anytime soon.” … JP Feyereisen (shoulder bone bruise) is feeling better but has not started throwing.
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The Rays are 2-9 in road series openers and have lost seven straight. ... Isaac Paredes’ fourth-inning homer ended a 30-inning stretch without anyone doing deep. ... Yarbough didn’t record a strikeout in facing 25 batters, the most in his career without one. That was the most for any Ray since James Shields faced 28 without one on April 8, 2011 at the White Sox. ...Pitching plans after Corey Kluber starts Friday’s 3 p.m. Canada Day matinee are still unclear. Shane McClanahan will pitch one of Saturday’s doubleheader games; Drew Rasmussen could be activated or there could be a callup for the other. Springs or Shane Baz could pitch on Sunday.
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