Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks injures hip during win over Dodgers

Notes | The closer limped from the bullpen to the dugout after warming up in the eighth inning. Plus, the team brought up emotional Joe LaSorsa to help the pen.
Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks leaves the field with a trainer after injuring his hip while warming up during the ninth inning of Sunday's game against the Dodgers at Tropicana Field.
Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks leaves the field with a trainer after injuring his hip while warming up during the ninth inning of Sunday's game against the Dodgers at Tropicana Field. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published May 28, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG — Pete Fairbanks injured his hip as he warmed up in the bullpen late in the Rays’ 11-10 win over the Dodgers Sunday at Tropicana Field. The closer was accompanied by a trainer as he limped from the bullpen to the dugout after the eighth inning.

“His hip locked up. I don’t have much more,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said afterward. “Obviously, we’re gonna go get him checked out. (The trainer) just said that (his) muscles look to be OK, but we saw him walk very gingerly from the bullpen and he was in some pain. No real update from that point.”

Fairbanks was in the training room after the game as the team prepared to head to Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs. His unavailability forced Jason Adam to go two innings, throwing 37 pitches to pick up his first career six-out save.

Josh Fleming pitched the first six, allowing career highs of 10 runs and five home runs on 12 hits. Cash also had to go to Jalen Beeks in the seventh after the left-hander threw 31 pitches in a multiple-inning outing as an opener on Friday.

Despite working hard lately, the Rays bullpen should be OK to get through to Thursday’s off day.

“I think we should be OK,” Cash said. “I mean, we’ll see what happens with Pete. I mean, if he’s an IL (injured list), then we’re going to get another pitcher.”

Fairbanks missed time earlier this season with right wrist inflammation and was taken out of a cold game last month because of numbness in his fingers due to Raynaud’s syndrome.

He has five saves in 13 appearances this season.

Meeting the moment

There were no cameras on Joe LaSorsa when he learned he was heading to the big leagues to help the Rays’ gassed bullpen — and that’s a loss for the whole baseball world. While his name may not be familiar to all but the closest followers of the Rays’ minor-league system, the whole world saw his exuberant celebration of a sixth-inning hold for Team Italy against the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic in March.

The nearly 50-second celebration went viral, and people who know him weren’t surprised.

“They just know I’m a loose cannon, you know, like a psycho kid, and they know how much emotions fester up inside of me and sometimes if the moment gets really big, I can’t even help myself,” LaSorsa said. “... I’ve been kind of doing that throughout my whole career. It’s just a matter of that there was finally a camera was on me.”

The cameras caught LaSorsa in a big spot, a must-win game for each team to get to the next round. The Netherlands had loaded the bases when LaSorsa come in to replace Andre Pallante.

He induced an infield popup from Didi Gregorius and then struck out Jonathan Schoop looking and Roger Bernadina swinging.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

LaSorsa flexed and howled on the mound. He pounded his chest, pumped his fist and bumped chests with teammates before walking off the field. He high-fived everyone in the dugout and then found his catcher in the corner and hugged him aggressively.

Italy actually won the game, 7-1, and advanced out of Pool A.

LaSorsa hasn’t had a viral moment since.

“I’ve probably controlled myself more since then,” he said.

The Rays optioned right-hander Trevor Kelley to Triple-A Durham and designated righty Chris Muller for assignment to make room on the roster for LaSorsa.

• • •

Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.

Never miss out on the latest with your favorite Tampa Bay sports teams. Follow our coverage on Twitter and Facebook.