Hurricane Ian news creates ‘a challenge’ for Rays

Notes | The team’s training facility and more than a dozen staffers have homes in the area that was reportedly hit hardest.
Rays manager Kevin Cash discusses a call with home plate umpire Ryan Additon during the fourth inning Wednesday against the Guardians.
Rays manager Kevin Cash discusses a call with home plate umpire Ryan Additon during the fourth inning Wednesday against the Guardians. [ RON SCHWANE | AP ]
Published Sept. 29, 2022|Updated Sept. 29, 2022

CLEVELAND — Rays personnel were concerned Wednesday over reports that Hurricane Ian hit harshly near Port Charlotte, where they have a year-round training facility that hosts spring training and more than a dozen staffers have homes.

“It’s been a challenge today,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It impacts you. You’re just concerned. Generally we’re in (the clubhouse) kidding around watching MLB Network. Every TV in there has been on The Weather Channel.”

Team officials didn’t have any information as of Wednesday night on damage to the training facility, noting the security camera system had been knocked out.

Pitching coach Kyle Snyder, whose parents where riding out the storm in their Sarasota-area homes, said there was reason to be worried.

“I’m a Florida resident and long term; we’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said. “Obviously our thoughts and prayers are out to the people south of (the Tampa Bay area). Certainly thinking about a lot of the people that live in and around Port Charlotte that are Tampa Bay Rays long-term employees, and a lot of their family and friends.’’

Pitcher Shane McClanahan’s parents live in the Cape Coral area, which also was being hit hard, but were able to get out and relocate to the east coast.

“Just talking to a lot of these guys and making sure that we’re up to speed on the care and concern for all of our families,” he said.

Outfielder Randy Arozarena said his family in the western part of Cuba, which also was hit hard, was okay.

The Rays dealt with similar concerns when they were on the road in 2017 during Hurricane Irma. Cash said it seems different this time. “This certainly feels like a more impactful storm,” he said. “It’s covering our spring training area right now. And there are a lot of families — not just Rays families, but just the entire Florida community that’s going through it right now. So hopefully this thing calms down a little.”

Diaz in, then out of lineup

Yandy Diaz wasn’t ready to return to regular duty after all. He was in the lineup then scratched about 40 minutes before first pitch after feeling soreness in his left shoulder after doing pre-game work, including fielding grounders, and likely won’t start Thursday.

“Just felt like maybe I was pushing it a little bit with him,” Cash said. “I want him back in there so bad. He’s such a big part of our team. But want to do right by Yandy, make sure that when he comes back, it’s not an at-bat to at-bat feel.”

Not so minor matters

Triple-A Durham made it a clean sweep for all four Rays full-season minor-league affiliates reaching the playoffs. The Bulls, who clinched the East division on Tuesday, head to Las Vegas to face Nashville (Brewers) on Saturday (9:05 p.m.) in a one-game playoff for the Triple-A International League title. The winner on Sunday faces the Pacific Coast League champ — either El Paso (Padres) or Reno (D-backs) — for what is being called the Triple-A national championship.

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