Rays’ Yandy Diaz was about to ‘explode a little bit’ over Yankees’ actions

CLEVELAND — The Yankees may have gotten off easy Sunday.

The benches had cleared twice after Randy Arozarena was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning, the fourth Ray to get plunked in the game and 12th by the Yankees this season in what has become something of an annual issue.

As the players jostled and jawed a bit, Yandy Diaz, the Rays’ well-muscled first baseman, emerged from the dugout and struck a menacing pose.

Diaz had reasons of his own to be upset, having been hit on the left forearm in Friday’s game by a pitch from Jonathan Loaisiga and forced to sit out the next two games.

Plus, Yankees reliever Ian Hamilton earlier Sunday had hit Isaac Paredes, the Rays’ top home-run hitter, in the helmet.

So when Diaz watched Arozarena get drilled in the ribs by Albert Abreu, he had seen enough, his agitation obvious as he pointed across the field, and had to be restrained by teammates and coaches.

“In the past, over the years that I’ve been here, I feel like they’ve tried to hurt us sometimes in throwing the ball at us,” Diaz said via team interpreter Manny Navarro.

“You need to have certain moments where you think you might explode a little bit. I think that might have been one of the days where I was a little bit more upset.”

Diaz stayed cool enough to avoid any retaliation that might have felt justified but could have led to disciplinary action against him.

Though Abreu denied any intent, Diaz said he agreed wholeheartedly with Arozarena’s assertion that he was hit on purpose.

“The whole world knows that it was,” Diaz said.

Roster changes, deadlines

The Rays are expected to activate reliever Kevin Kelly and infielder Taylor Walls off the injured list Friday as rosters league-wide expand from 26 to 28 (with a maximum of 14 pitchers).

But there may be a question about whether Walls, out since late July with an oblique strain, is ready as the second of his planned three rehab games with Triple-A Durham was rained out Wednesday. He was in the lineup for the Bulls on Thursday.

There is also a noon Friday deadline to submit postseason rosters. The Rays appear set, having this week signed veteran reliever Chris Devenski to a major-league deal and speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton to a minor-league pact, while also retaining catcher Francisco Mejia on an outright assignment to Triple-A after designating him for assignment.

The submitted postseason roster includes players on the 40-man roster, 60-day injured lists and inactive lists (including administrative leave, so Wander Franco could be included). Anyone in the organization as of midnight Thursday is eligible to be added as an injury replacement. With five players on the 60-day IL (and having served their 60 days by the start of the playoffs), the Rays will have considerable flexibility to add players not on the 40-man roster.

Glasnow returns to scene of his return

Tyler Glasnow will start for the Rays Friday against the Guardians at Progressive Field, the stadium where last September he returned to action 14½ months after sustaining an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery.

Glasnow threw three innings there Sept. 28 and 3-2/3 five days later in Boston. Five days after that, he was back in Cleveland and threw five shutout innings in the second and decisive game of the Wild Card Series loss.

Glasnow said he felt good then but is definitely more comfortable now, having made 15 starts this season after missing the first two months with an oblique strain.

“In terms of recovery and consistency from that moment to now, I definitely just kind of climbed uphill, so it’s encouraging,” he said. “(After) like eight or 10 starts, around that time, I feel like I really got locked back into how I was feeling (before the June 2021 injury).”

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