Rays’ Yandy Diaz again hoping trip to Milwaukee isn’t a ghost story

CHICAGO — Yandy Diaz returned to the lineup Sunday, two days after being hit on the left pinkie by a 99.3-mph fastball.

A bigger test of his toughness — given his acknowledged extreme fear of ghosts — may be his decision to stay with the rest of the team this week at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel, which has long been rumored in baseball circles to be haunted.

“It’s crazy,” he said Sunday.

In advance of the Rays’ most recent visit to Milwaukee in 2022, teammates teased the well-muscled third baseman extensively, to the point where Diaz considered staying elsewhere.

Instead he was assured a room in the new — and thus not haunted — tower of the landmark hotel that was built in 1893, and got through the three-night stay.

Diaz has a similar plan for this week and said the teasing has been at a minimum this time, though some staff overheard him talking with a reporter about ghosts and chimed in. Team security director Jim Previtera jokingly offered to sit outside Diaz’s room in a Ghostbusters costume.

In talking about the team’s struggles, as well as his own slow start, Diaz also joked that a paranormal encounter might not be the worst thing to shake a slump.

“Maybe it’ll help,” he said.

Pepiot’s pep club

Indiana native Ryan Pepiot gets lots of support whenever he pitches in the Midwest, and said “a good amount” of his family will be in Milwaukee for Monday’s start.

Also, a bunch of Butler University classmates who live in the Chicago area. “We’ll probably have some rowdy fans around the dugout, so if you hear some things it’s probably my college buddies,” Pepiot said.

How will they be identified? “You’ll see a lot of guys with a bunch of beers probably,” he said.

Medical matters

Cash said closer Pete Fairbanks has been throwing “fairly symptom free” from the nerve-related issue that landed him on the injured list, and on Tuesday will see chiropractic specialist Dr. Nevin Markel in North Carolina. … Taj Bradley, out since a spring pectoral muscle strain, made an impressive first rehab start for Triple-A Durham, throwing five no-hit innings, striking out seven and walking just one with 65 total pitches. …. Infielder Jonathan Aranda (broken right ring finger) was 0-for-4 in his second game and outfielder Jonny DeLuca (broken right hand) 0-for-2 with two walks in his third. …. Outfielder Josh Lowe, whose expected Saturday return from the March oblique strain that landed him on the injured list was delayed due to a new issue with his right hamstring, was headed home for a Monday MRI.


This was the first time the Rays were swept in a regular-season series since July 17-19 at Texas, and by an AL Central team since Aug. 3-5, 2018, by the Sox at Tropicana Field. … Sunday’s game featured no walks and was played in 2:06. … Randy Arozarena, sporting a majors-worst April average of .121 (11-for-91) didn’t start and pinch hit in the eighth. … The Rays bused the roughly 95 miles from Guaranteed Rate Field to their downtown Milwaukee hotel. … Top prospect Junior Caminero was 4-for-5 with two homers for Durham. … Richie Palacios on Saturday tied a team record by reaching base six times (hit, walk, hit by pitch); it was also done by Daniel Robertson (July 2018 at Miami), Ben Zobrist (July 2012 vs. Seattle), Jose Cruz (June 2004 at Toronto). … Austin Shenton got back the ball he hit Saturday for his first big-league homer and said “it’s great and I’ll save that forever.” Teammates first tried to give him the silent treatment in the dugout after the homer, he said, but then “they all kind of came over at the same time.”

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