ST. PETERSBURG — Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena said he and infielder Yandy Diaz had words over “a couple of little things” after Monday’s loss to the Astros but there was “nothing physical” and they have resolved their issues.
“We’re fine,” Arozarena said before Wednesday’s game against the Astros, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I saw (Diaz) today, and I talked to him today, and we greeted each other, and everything’s all good.”
Arozarena said the subject of the dispute was “much more so personal stuff” than baseball related and he and Diaz agreed to move on.
“We both spoke, and we talked about it,” he said. “Our goal now is just to focus on what’s going on on the field in between the lines and focus on making it to the playoffs and focusing on helping out this team however we can.”
Word of an incident was first reported Tuesday afternoon by WDAE-FM 95.3, the team’s flagship radio station, which said the players were involved “in a physical altercation” in the Tropicana Field parking lot.
Arozarena, though, said “It was just something we needed to talk about mostly.”
Manager Kevin Cash didn’t have much to say about the incident but did acknowledge that was “part of the reason” neither was in the lineup Tuesday against the Astros. He said Diaz is also dealing with a left shoulder issue, which kept him out again Wednesday. Arozarena was back in the lineup.
“I really am not going to confirm, deny, whatever,” Cash said. “I think these players, we owe it to them to keep what goes on in the clubhouse in the clubhouse. But I’m very confident we’re past everything and looking forward to playing (Wednesday).”
Diaz, who was not made available for comment before Wednesday’s game, has been out of the lineup three of the last five games as Cash said they are “managing” the shoulder issue that flares up on the finish to his swing. Cash said it has bothered Diaz for a while and is similar to an impingement.
“He had that, it was awhile ago, where he missed some time, a couple games back-to-back, and this is kind of a similar thing,” Cash said. “It’s just that finish. He’s been swinging a lot — foul balls, swing-and-misses — it grabs him kind of on the back. Good thing it’s his left shoulder, not his right shoulder, so it doesn’t affect throwing. But the last time we kind of treated it and gave him a couple of days off, and he took some time off swinging, so he was OK.”
Arozarena said he thought he was off Tuesday to get rest after missing the Saturday and Sunday games because he was sick, including a 104-degree fever. He spent part of the game sitting in the bullpen but said he was available to hit if needed. Arozarena had two hits Wednesday in a 5-2 loss.
Asked about the wisdom of actually fighting Diaz, a fellow Cuban who has bulging biceps and a well-muscled 6-foot-2, 240-pound frame, Arozarena said: “You’d be smart not to.”
Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.
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