The Rays will be without their hottest hitter for at least the first game of the weekend series against the Orioles.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena, who has been on a two-week tear and mashed against the Orioles all season, was placed on the COVID-19-related injured list Friday for what the team said was a “close contact.”
There is no minimum stay on the COVID-related list, and the phrasing provided by the team does not provide much context for the situation or Arozarena’s status. He missed the July 2020 Spring 2.0 training camp and the start of last season because he had COVID-19.
Rays manager Kevin Cash did not provide much clarity.
“Just (a) close contact off the field, and we’re just going with an abundance of caution,” Cash said. “Probably take it day to day. Randy does not have symptoms or anything like that, but he came in contact and hopefully we’ll have more information, clarity (Saturday). Probably won’t know much (Friday) night.”
Cash also couldn’t say if Arozarena had completed testing or if he has been vaccinated, as a large percentage of the team is.
The Rays called up outfielder Jordan Luplow, who was acquired from Cleveland at the July 30 trade deadline. He is a right-handed hitter known for hitting well against lefties, and the Orioles are starting lefty John Means tonight.
But the Rays will miss Arozarena, the 2020 postseason breakout star who has been on a torrid stretch, hitting .404 (23-for-57) over his last 14 games with 12 extra-base hits (including six homers), 11 RBIs and a 1.285 OPS.
Plus, he has been feasting all season on Orioles’ pitching, hitting .459 (17-for-37) over eight games with 10 extra-base hits (including seven homers), 16 RBIs and a 1.582 OPS
The Rays are starting Ryan Yarbrough tonight at Camden Yards.
Also of note: Lefty Brendan McKay, who has been working his way back from 2020 shoulder surgery, was activated from the Triple-A injured list and transferred to Double-A Montgomery, where he will start tonight.
In addition, Cash said reliever Collin McHugh is in line to be activated Saturday or Sunday. Chris Archer, whose rehab at Triple-A was interrupted by a hip issue, played catch and will throw a bullpen session Sunday or Monday.
Here is the Rays’ lineup:
And here is the Orioles’ lineup:
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