ST. PETERSBURG — Randy Arozarena knew it was coming. Former teammate Willy Adames had warned him that if he hit a home run in his return to Tropicana Field, he was going to mimic Arozarena’s arms-crossed pose.
In the second inning Sunday, Adames, who was traded to the Brewers two years ago to the day, hammered a leadoff home run off Rays opener Jalen Beeks to put the Brewers on track for a 6-4 win.
Adames made good on his promise.
The shortstop ran around the bases, crossed home plate and then turned toward Arozarena in leftfield and struck the pose. The Brewers have a foam cheesehead hat in the dugout for home run celebrations. So for good measure, Adames put the hat on and struck the pose again in the dugout, pointing to the Rays slugger.
Arozarena smiled slightly.
“I mean, it’s not necessarily good because we ended up losing the game,” Arozarena said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “He should do it when he hits a home run against another team.”
It was Adames’ first career home run against the Rays and his eighth of the season.
“(Adames) had said earlier (Sunday) that he was going to hit a home run and then he was going to do the pose, and I didn’t believe him,” Arozarena said. “But obviously he hit a home run and just posed.”
Arozarena, who was hit by a pitch on a pinky finger in the eighth inning, said his hand was fine.
Another former Rays player makes his first trip back to Tropicana Field in the regular season this week. Kevin Kiermaier, who grew to be a fan favorite over his 10 years with the Rays, returns with the Blue Jays for a four-game series beginning tonight.
“I’m sure he’ll have a nice video,” pitcher Josh Fleming said. “If I had to guess, there’ll be a pretty cool video for him. It’s still weird seeing him and not in a Rays uniform. He’s doing pretty well over there. So obviously excited for him and excited to see him back.”
Kiermaier is hitting .317 with three home runs and 13 RBIs and has five stolen bases with Toronto this season. He has helped the Blue Jays defensively with their new, shorter outfield.
Rays manager Kevin Cash isn’t surprised that Kiermaier, who was frequently injured while with the Rays, is playing so well.
“I know talking to him this offseason, he was very confident, highly motivated that he was going to be healthy, and (he) certainly looks like he’s healthy,” Cash said. “And when (Kiermaier) is healthy, he’s a very dynamic player.”
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The Rays have already seen him this season in Toronto.
“I think it’ll be really good, and deservedly so,” Cash said of Kiermaier’s return. “He has brought a lot of happiness, a lot of joy, a lot of athleticism, just a really good player, good person to this stadium, this community, and I hope it’s as loud as for anyone.”
Thompson odd man out
Ryan Thompson was the surprise victim of the Rays’ roster moves Sunday. The veteran right-hander was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room on the 26-man roster for Cooper Criswell. Thompson, 30, has been a staple of the bullpen the last few seasons but has struggled this year. In 16 appearances, Thompson has allowed 11 earned runs over 15 innings pitched. He has walked seven, struck out nine and hit two batters in that span.
Contact Kristie Ackert at email@example.com.
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