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Rays’ Yandy Diaz ‘a little bit heated’ at Red Sox’s Nick Pivetta

The Boston pitcher claimed he was yelling at himself, not the Tampa Bay batter who had just doubled twice.
Red Sox Christian Vasquez restrains the Rays' Yandy Diaz as he approaches the mound after a close pitch from Nick Pivetta Tuesday at Fenway Park.
Red Sox Christian Vasquez restrains the Rays' Yandy Diaz as he approaches the mound after a close pitch from Nick Pivetta Tuesday at Fenway Park. [ CHRIS CHRISTO | Boston Herald ]
Published Jul. 5|Updated Jul. 6

BOSTON — Yandy Diaz thought he had reason to be mad.

The Rays third baseman had noticed Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta giving him a look after the second of his two doubles and “thought maybe he would be a little bit bothered.” So when a pitch during Diaz’s third at-bat came up and in and then he heard Pivetta saying some bad words, he was ready for action.

Diaz yelled something back and took a couple of steps toward the mound. Several players on both sides came out of the dugouts, but nothing further developed. Pivetta gestured and then told Diaz he was actually yelling at himself.

“I initially thought it was towards me, but when I turned around and asked him what he was saying he was saying how it wasn’t towards me,” Diaz said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “But I was already a little bit heated, so it just kind of escalated a little bit.”

A similar incident happened during Pivetta’s last start in Toronto and led to both benches emptying. Asked about Tuesday’s incident, Pivetta said, “It’s not worth a comment, to be honest with you.”

Infielder added from Pirates

The Rays added another infielder on Tuesday, claiming Yu Chang off waivers from the Pirates.

Chang, 26, is a right-handed hitter who plays first, second and third base and previously was with Cleveland. He is out of options, so he has to join the major-league team, likely on Friday in Cincinnati.

The Rays will have to make room on their active roster then, with the potential — barring injury or another move — that one of their young infielders, such as Vidal Brujan, is sent down.

“Good defender, can play all over the place in the infield,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s got plenty of major-league at-bats between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.”

Over parts of four seasons in the majors, Chang, a native of Taiwan, has a .204 career average with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 149 games. In 89 games last year with Cleveland, he hit .228 with nine homers and 39 RBIs.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays shifted Brandon Lowe to the 60-day injured list. That delays his potential return from a low back issue until July 15, though he wasn’t likely to be ready before then anyway.

Back in the bullpen, part 2

Lefty Brooks Raley also was excited to be able to rejoin the team after missing the four-day series in Toronto since he is unvaccinated. “A little time off, got to spend some time with the family and then glad to be back,” he said. As for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine, which cost him about $93,000 in pay for the four missed days? “I still think that’s a personal decision every player has to make,” he said. “As long as that’s a choice that we have been entitled to, that’s the option I’ve gone with for the last year or so.”

Miscellany

Josh Fleming, who worked five-plus innings on Monday, was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Jeffrey Springs to come off the family medical emergency list but will stay with the team on the taxi squad. ... The Sox are bringing up top pitching prospect Brayan Bello, and his 98 mph fastball, to start Wednesday. ... ... First baseman Ji-Man Choi somewhat surprisingly didn’t start against the right-handed Pivetta; Cash said it was just a day off. ... Cash said there is no update yet on Luis Patino, whose last rehab start was cut short due to a right middle finger blister.

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