ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays have dealt with hurricane-related scheduling issues many times playing home games on the West Coast of Florida.
But now their schedule has been impacted by a rare hurricane heading toward the West Coast of the United States, the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years.
Because of Hurricane Hilary, the Rays’ planned Sunday series finale with the Angels will now be played Saturday, as part of a split doubleheader, with game times of 4:07 and 9:07 p.m. (Tampa Bay time). That will allow the Rays to head home ahead of the storm’s forecast arrival, which is expected to include extreme flooding, mudslides and possibly tornadoes.
“I think MLB probably did the right thing being proactive with it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You wish for the best for the safety of all of Southern California. I know they don’t see many hurricanes this way; it’s been a long time. Probably best for both clubs to do this and allow us the opportunity to get out.”
The Rays will start Zach Eflin in the night game, which was the original plan, and on an extra day of rest. Tyler Glasnow, who was to pitch Sunday, will instead work the matinee on regular rest. Plus, he skipped throwing a bullpen session, as he sometimes does, since his Monday start, when he made a strong return from back spasms, so the change was no issue.
Right-hander Cooper Criswell will be called up as the 27th man to add bullpen depth, which will be handy since the Rays ran a bullpen game Friday.
Several of the Rays noted the rarity of the storm.
“I didn’t even know hurricanes were an option out here,” Eflin said. “I’ll be praying for everyone out here, because I know their houses probably aren’t hurricane-proof (and) all the mudslides that they’re probably going to have.”
Added Brandon Lowe: “It’s extremely interesting. First hurricane in 84 years, I’d be freaking out a little bit, too. Then again, if we had an earthquake in Florida, we’d probably freak out a little bit.”
This will be the Rays’ third doubleheader of the season; they split in Boston on June 3 and swept in Kansas City on July 15. After playing here Saturday the Rays will be off until hosting the Rockies on Tuesday night.
Wander Franco reportedly hires noted lawyer
Wander Franco, who is under investigation by Major League Baseball and Dominican Republic authorities following social media posts alleging an inappropriate relationship with a minor, reportedly has hired noted sports attorney Jay Riesinger, according to the news website The Messenger.
Reisinger has represented numerous baseball players in both criminal and MLB disciplinary matters, including Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Andy Pettitte and Aroldis Chapman. According to The Messenger, Franco also will have counsel in the Dominican Republic.
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Andrew Kittredge excited to be back
Reliever Andrew Kittredge was understandably excited to rejoin the team after completing his rehab from June 2022 Tommy John elbow surgery. “It’s been a long 14 months or whatever it’s been,” he said.
Kittredge said he went through some “ups and downs” during the process, but felt they “checked all the boxes that we needed to (at Triple-A Durham) as far as being ready to get activated.” He said his velocity and overall stuff are “pretty close to where I’m used to it being” and expected an “adrenaline bump” from returning to the majors.
After Cash said they would “allow him some time to get his footing,” Kittredge was called on to work the 10th Friday against the Angels for a save in his first game back. “I didn’t imagine that that was the situation I was going to get thrown into, but happy to come away with a W,’’ Kittredge said.
Centerfielder Jose Siri was not in the lineup as his left pinkie, sprained on a slide into second against the Giants on Wednesday, was still sore when he tried to swing. He was used as a pinch-runner in the 10th. … First-base coach Chris Prieto missed the game due to a family medical matter; assistant hitting coach Dan DeMent filled in. … The Rays have won eight straight series openers. … Infielder Jonathan Aranda, a native of Mexico, had about 20 relatives and friends at the game.
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