CHICAGO — A recurrence of Raynaud’s syndrome, which impacts blood flow to the fingers, forced Rays top reliever Pete Fairbanks from Friday’s game in the ninth inning and left him extremely frustrated.
“I think that would be an understatement,” Fairbanks said after the 3-2 win. “The thing about a syndrome is it comes back. There’s things to do, but I have to explore them. So it is what it is. And I can’t give you any more info than that.”
First baseman Yandy Diaz also left the game early, his departure due to soreness in his left shoulder as the result of a head-first slide into home in the first inning.
Diaz had issues with the shoulder much of the second half of last season, but said he doesn’t expect it to be a recurring issue that will keep him from playing. (He already was scheduled to be off Saturday.)
“It bugs me a little bit every once in a while but I know it’s something that I’ve got to work through since it’s something that started off last year,” said Diaz, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “But I think it’s just going to get better with days and rest.”
Fairbanks had a similar issue with his fingers — which he said turn “chalk white” as the vessels are constricted — pitching in cold weather during last year’s playoffs in Cleveland. The temperatures at the end of Friday’s game had dropped into the low 40s.
Fairbanks got two quick outs Friday, then hit Andrew Benintendi and walked Andrew Vaughn. After a quick visit from manager Kevin Cash and athletic trainer Aaron Scott, Fairbanks left the game. Rookie Kevin Kelly came in and got the final out to seal the win and extend Fairbanks’ team record scoreless streak to 29 2/3 innings.
Fairbanks said he is “going to do my damnedest” to be able to pitch through the issue, even though the loss of feeling impacts his ability to throw the ball where he wants to.
“We know why, but the other stuff along the way, we’ll figure that out and we’ll explore my options to combat it,” he said. “If (Cash) has got to rip the ball out of my hand (then) he’s got to rip the ball out of my hand.”
Calvin Faucher will serve as the opener again on Saturday, with Yonny Chirinos expected to work bulk innings.
Chirinos has pitched three times for the Rays since being called up in mid-April, working 2 2/3 to 3 2/3 innings each time and not allowing any runs. With Taj Bradley sent to the minors, Chirinos — who returned in September after missing more than two years with elbow injuries — will have a designated day in the rotation, but the Rays will decide whether he starts or works behind an opener.
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“I’m very happy,” he said Friday, via Navarro. “It’s been a long process , a difficult process over here, but I thank God because I never gave up. I worked hard and I’m very emotional for (Saturday). I’m very excited to be right back out there, back in the rotation.”
• Reliever Ryan Thompson returned to active duty after a 15-day injured list stint due to a lat strain, saying “I feel as good as I’ve felt in years,” and he worked a scoreless sixth. Zack Burdi, who was called up Wednesday and pitched in two games, was optioned to Triple-A to make room.
• Luke Raley enjoyed looking back on his unexpected pitching debut in Thursday’s game more than he did being on the mound. Raley did claim a piece of team history. He became the fifth Ray to homer — with a 114.3-mph blast in the top of the ninth — and pitch in the same game, joining catcher Christian Bethancourt (Aug. 23, 2022), infielder Yu Chang (Aug. 6, 2022) and pitchers Nate Karns (July 21, 2015) and Esteban Yan (June 4, 2000).
Right-handed reliever Heath Hembree, a veteran of 12 big-league seasons, elected free agency rather than going back to Triple-A Durham after clearing outright waivers. Hembree was called up and pitched Tuesday, then was designated for assignment the next day. … Rain and temperatures dropping to the low 40s are forecast for Saturday night. … White Sox manager Pedro Grifol was ejected for the second straight game; bench coach Charlie Montoyo, the longtime Rays coach and minor-league manager, took over.
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