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Randy Arozarena wants Home Run Derby invite: ‘I deserve to be there’

Notebook | The first full day as Rays All-Stars for Arozarena and Yandy Diaz included sorting through a long list of congratulatory messages.
 
The Rays' Randy Arozarena really wants to compete in, and win, the Home Run Derby during All-Star week.
The Rays' Randy Arozarena really wants to compete in, and win, the Home Run Derby during All-Star week. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published July 1, 2023|Updated July 1, 2023

SEATTLE — Now that Randy Arozarena has been voted into a spot in the American League All-Star starting outfield for the July 11 game here at T-Mobile Park, he really wants an invite to also participate in the Home Run Derby.

“I think I deserve to be there,” Arozarena said Friday, via team communications manager Elvis Martinez.

“I hope they call me. When they announce it, I hope I get a chance. I feel in my heart it’s 99 percent I’m going to be in it — I think.”

So far only three of the eight participants have been named: Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, Toronto’s Vlad Guerrero Jr. and the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts.

Arozarena, who has 15 homers this season, said he hasn’t talked with anyone from Major League Baseball, but he has made his interest known in other ways, including media interviews.

If Arozarena gets chosen, he plans to make it memorable: “I’m going to compete to try and win it.”

Yandy Diaz is in the All-Star lineup, but his wife's approaching due date may keep him out of the game.
Yandy Diaz is in the All-Star lineup, but his wife's approaching due date may keep him out of the game. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Arozarena and first baseman Yandy Diaz, the other Ray voted to start, spent part of Friday going through a list of congratulatory messages from family, friends and former teammates too long to count.

Diaz said he hadn’t had a chance to talk yet with his mother, Elsa Maria Fernandez, who he hasn’t seen since leaving Cuba in 2013 on a raft, but knew she was aware of the news.

“She’s very happy,” he said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “She didn’t expect me to be where I am now.”

Diaz’s availability to play in the All-Star Game could be impacted by the pending arrival of his and his wife’s first child; he said a Monday doctor’s appointment in St. Petersburg should provide come clarity.

Also still to be addressed are logistics on making the long trip back to Seattle next weekend and deciding what family and friends will come along. Starter Shane McClanahan, and potentially other Rays, could be added to the team Sunday when the pitchers and reserves, chosen mostly by player vote, are revealed.

Medical matters

Infielder Taylor Walls returned to the lineup Friday after sitting out two games due to tightness in his right lat area. Both Walls and the team felt after he went through an extensive workout Thursday that he should be good to resume playing regularly.

“It’ll probably be something that he’s just going to have to manage workload a little bit, maybe a few less swings in the cage or in batting practice, a few less ground balls, but we’re confident he’s fine,” manager Kevin Cash said.

“We wouldn’t be playing him if we thought that we were in danger of aggravating something and missing him for a long time.”

Second baseman Brandon Lowe (herniated disc), meanwhile, was off as scheduled Friday after going 1-for-6 in two rehab games for Triple-A Durham, with plans to play Saturday and Sunday and be reevaluated for a potential return to the Rays as soon as Tuesday.

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Glasnow good to go

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow looks toward the plate during the third inning of last Sunday's game against the Royals.
Rays starter Tyler Glasnow looks toward the plate during the third inning of last Sunday's game against the Royals. [ STEVE NESIUS | AP ]

Tyler Glasnow felt he got the mechanical issues in his delivery straightened out going into his last start, and he certainly showed it Sunday, striking out 12 and allowing just one run over five dominant innings.

As he prepares to face the Mariners on Saturday — and pitch for the first time in Seattle — his goal is to keep things pretty much the same, then get on a roll.

“Try not to get too far ahead of myself,” he said. “Just try and like feel good like I did last time. And then it kind of starts to snowball.”

Miscellany

TV play-by-play Dewayne Staats, who left the broadcast booth during Thursday’s game due to voice issues, was out again Friday, with Andy Freed coming over from the radio team. … Now retired former Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was on the field pre-game, then joined the TV and radio broadcasts during the game. …. Saturday’s game is part of Fox’s national TV package and is not on Bally, with the same plan for next Saturday vs. the Braves. … Catcher Dominic Keegan, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft from Vanderbilt, was promoted to High-A Bowling Green after hitting .315 with five homers, 35 RBIs, and an .877 OPS for Class-A Charleston.

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