MINNEAPOLIS — Randy Arozarena has a knack for getting hot and delivering in big moments.
And the Rays are hoping his ninth-inning, game-winning homer in Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over the Twins is the start of something.
“We all know he rises up in big games and big moments,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s done it since he’s been a Tampa Bay Ray, so probably have come to expect nothing less.
“(Wednesday) was a big moment and hopefully that provides him a little bit of a jolt that it continues now the rest of the way.”
Arozarena, known most for his torrid 2020 postseason run, said he is eager for more big moments.
“I’m always ready,” he said, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “It brings up the focus a little bit more, especially to help out my teammates as much as I can.”
Margot could make early return
Outfielder Manuel Margot’s return from the injured list could be accelerated to this weekend with centerfielder Jose Siri now sidelined with a broken hand.
“We needed him back before Siri’s injury; now there’s probably even more urgency,” Cash said. “So we’ll continue to see how his rehab goes.”
Margot had surgery Aug. 16 to remove bone chips from his right elbow. He recovered well and had been hitting in batting practice, then joined Triple-A Durham on Tuesday and went 2-for-2 with two walks as the DH. He played centerfield for Durham on Wednesday night and was 3-for-4. Cash said he would talk to Margot after that game about changing the original plan of staying with the Bulls through Sunday.
“There’s a chance,” Cash said. “We’ll discuss all that, but we’ve got to do right by Manny and make sure that he’s feeling good.”
Siri had his nondisplaced fracture checked by team specialist Dr. Doug Carlan in St. Petersburg on Wednesday morning.
Cash said there wasn’t much of an update as Siri will be wearing “kind of a special brace to really keep it where he can’t move it and, just fingers crossed, hope for the best that it heals as quick as possible.”
Yandy Diaz back in lineup
Yandy Diaz still had “a little bit” of pain but was back in the Rays lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game with “a testicular contusion” that was the result of a ball he fouled off taking an unfortunate bounce.
“The worst feeling you could ever feel,” said Diaz, via team interpreter Manny Navarro.
Plus, he had to deal with the discomfort in view of thousands of fans and TV cameras.
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“It’s a little weird, obviously,” Diaz said. “But anyone who’s played any kind of sport — football, baseball, anything — and has been hit there, they’ll understand,” he said.
In the culture of clubhouse humor, there was a protective cup and jockstrap hanging in Diaz’s locker when he arrived, with a handwritten message in Spanish to protect his, um, assets.
Diaz, for what it’s worth, said he doesn’t wear a cup when he plays.
There is no Bally Sports TV coverage of the first two games in Baltimore, as Fox will televise Thursday, and Friday was chosen for part of the AppleTV+ package. … One indication of the importance of the games was that with Pete Fairbanks off Wednesday, the Rays used both Colin Poche to get two outs and Robert Stephenson the last in the ninth. “Generally speaking, Colin stays in that game,” Cash said. “But the magnitude of it, where we’re at in the season, we’re going to prioritize getting whatever we think is the right matchup.” ... The Rays are 10-5 in games tied after eight innings. … Cash went heavy right-handed hitting in the lineup against Twins lefty Dallas Keuchel, which led to Harold Ramirez making a rare start in the outfield, his fifth of the season and second in rightfield.
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