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Rays’ Pete Fairbanks on his exit: ‘I couldn’t feel my fingers’

Notes | The reliever leaves Saturday’s game after facing just two batters due to what is believed to be a minor circulation issue.
 
Rays pitcher Pete Fairbanks leaves the game with numbness in his fingers during the sixth inning Saturday in Cleveland.
Rays pitcher Pete Fairbanks leaves the game with numbness in his fingers during the sixth inning Saturday in Cleveland. [ PHIL LONG | AP ]
Published Oct. 9, 2022|Updated Oct. 9, 2022

CLEVELAND — Pete Fairbanks didn’t know what was happening but he knew he needed to get out of the game.

Fairbanks had thrown several times during the nine-day break between games, and felt fine warming up on Saturday as he replaced Tyler Glasnow to start the sixth inning against the Guardians. But once he got to the mound, with the feels-like temperature in the upper 40s, something was definitely wrong with his right hand, specifically his index and middle fingers.

“I couldn’t feel my fingers,” he said. “Not like ‘couldn’t feel it because it was cold.’ It was ‘pins and needles’ couldn’t feel it, which is probably dangerous to that guy standing with the (bat) in the box. .. My first fastball went to the backstop and it got progressively worse from there.”

He walked two batters, throwing only 3 of 11 pitches for strikes, summoned help from the dugout and, against his competitive drive, left the game with assistant athletic trainer Mike Sandoval, saying his hand looked “chalk white.”

“It was very frustrating,” Fairbanks said. “I felt like I was throwing with my wrist, and you can’t throw a ball with a wrist.”

Further discussion with the team medical staff left Fairbanks feeling it was “not anything serious,” probably a circulation issue, possibly Raynaud’s syndrome.

Official business

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred was on hand, chatting on the field pre-game with Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg. Manfred said there was nothing new on the Rays stadium situation, and that it will be a topic for the offseason. Manfred attended games in St. Louis and New York on Friday, and was headed from Cleveland to Toronto Saturday afternoon.

Record setters

This was the longest scoreless game in postseason history, surpassing the 12 innings of 0-0 play in Game 1 of the Braves-Reds 2020 Wild Card Series. It was the longest postseason game overall since the 18-inning Game 3 of the 2018 Dodgers-Red Sox World Series and matched the ninth longest. And it was the longest postseason game in Rays history, surpassing their 13-inning loss in Game 3 of the 2021 Division Series at Boston. ... Garrett Cleavinger became the third pitcher to face four batters in a postseason game and strike them all out. ... The Rays were swept in a postseason series for the first time and dropped to 28-34 overall, losing five straight. They are 10-8 in potential elimination games. ... The 19 strikeouts by Rays pitchers were a team record.

Miscellany

Shortstop Wander Franco has been invited to play for the Dominican Republic team in the spring World Baseball Classic and said in several Spanish language interviews he wants to play, but has not officially committed. … First-pitch temperature Saturday was 49 degrees, with a feels-like of 43. The Rays’ coldest game this season was April 18 in Chicago, with a 40-degree start. Saturday was the Rays’ ninth game this season with the temperature under 50 but only the fifth for the Guardians. … The Rays and Guardians played their fifth straight one-run game. ... Shane McClanahan’s seven-inning outing in Game 1 Friday was the longest by a starting pitcher in 32 postseason games managed by Cash. … Eleven of the 26 players on the Rays’ wild card roster were not on their opening day roster: Jonathan Aranda, Shawn Armstrong, Christian Bethancourt, Vidal Brujan, Cleavinger, Fairbanks, Glasnow, Javy Guerra, Isaac Paredes, David Peralta and Jose Siri.

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