Nick Anderson, Jalen Beeks, Diego Castillo, Pete Fairbanks, and Colin Poche threw live batting practice on the main field on Monday, while most of the work at Tropicana Field took place out of the view of media.
Both Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames faced Castillo, who Cash said looked “really, really crisp” during his BP session.
Willy came back with his eyes open really, really wide like if it was nasty stuff.— Kevin Cash
Several players are expected to throw live batting practice on Tuesday, including Oliver Drake and Andrew Kittredge, while Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough will do most of the mound work in a five-or six-inning simulated game/scrimmage on Wednesday. Hitters will not be running the bases.
Yoshi Tsutsugo continued to do some individual work at third base, while Willy Adames got some reps at shortstop, catcher Michael Perez threw to bases, and Hunter Renfroe did some throwing from right field.
Tsutsugo is expected to be slotted in the middle of the lineup and will continue to get reps both at third base and left field, which should be enough at both positions before Opening Day on July 24.
I want to be able to represent myself on the field, perform well, and be able to motivate other people that are suffering through the virus.— Yoshi Tstusugo
Chaz Roe, one of the five players that members of the media haven’t seen on the field over the first couple of workouts, took the field for the first time on Monday. The right-hander played catch with pitching coach Kyle Snyder and interacted with some teammates and coaches.
Yet the other four players — Randy Arozarena, Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, and Jose Martinez — still have not been seen on the main field since Summer Camp began. Austin Meadows has not been on the main field since Friday.
The team has not commented on why players were absent, or even if they were working out of sight. Teams have been told not to comment on COVID-19 related issues due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) concerns unless a player gives explicit permission.
With the rash of players across the league electing to opt-out of the shortened 2020 season, both Renfroe and the Rays’ manager said there has been no discussion about opting out of Rays camp in a media Zoom call.
There has been no discussion for anyone to opt-out for the Rays, none. We all want to get out there. We all want to play and we all want to win. It’s not a deal where we want to play 60 games. We want to go out there and we want to win it all.— Hunter Renfroe
Cash agreed with Renfroe and added that it’s on the Rays’ staff to manage the players’ well-being.
Our role is to talk to these players and check on them individually, then check on their families and their friends and their concerns. That’s the job of everybody in this building to make sure we’re checking on our players’ well-being.— Kevin Cash
According to Neil Solondz (Rays Radio), right-handed LOOGY Oliver Drake would like to appear in all 60 games.
Last season Oliver Drake appeared in 50 games from May 26th until the end of the season after coming up from Durham. That included eight appearances in an 11-day period in September when the Rays clinched a playoff spot. Drake, known as one of the high-energy guys in the bullpen, was asked about trying to appear in all 60 games.
“I’m willing to try,” he joked.
Drake, who spent the last few months in hard-hit Massachusetts, says he threw nearly every day while baseball was shut down.— Neil Solondz
Rays Schedule Released
MLB released the schedules of all 30 big-league teams on Monday, including the Rays (seen above). Tampa Bay will start the season at home against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 24, and end the season at home against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 27. In between those two dates, the Rays will face the Yankees four times at home and six times on the road, the Red Sox six times at home and four times on the road, the Orioles four times at home and six times on the road, and the Blue Jays seven times at home and three times on the road.
As Juan Toribio (MLB.com) writes, a three-city road trip in the middle of August appears to be the biggest challenge for the Rays.
Tampa Bay starts the trip with a four-game set against Boston, then the team flies to Toronto for three games and finishes it off with three games in the Bronx. The only day off during the trip comes on Aug. 17, right before the three-game set against the Yankees.
“Under these circumstances or under any circumstances, four games in Boston, three in Toronto and three in New York, that’s a handful,” Cash said. “Hopefully, we’ll be well-equipped, well-prepared and play good, because we’re going to have to. You certainly understand that with 60 games, a tough 10-day road trip can really throw you sideways if another team is playing really well.”— Juan Toribio
Of note, the Rays will have the least difficult opponent schedule in the AL East, albeit marginally less difficult. They, however, log the sixth-most miles (10,989 miles) in all of baseball — the most miles of any team in the AL East. The Blue Jays follow Tampa Bay at 9,284 miles; the Red Sox come in at 7,499 miles; the Orioles will travel 5,920; while those pampered Yankees will travel the ninth fewest miles in all of baseball at 5,604.