ST. PETERSBURG -- After landing at about 4 a.m. ET, then getting as much sleep as possible, the Blue Jays trudged into Tropicana Field to face the Rays on Friday night while battling fatigue from the previous day's rain-delayed doubleheader in Cleveland."Long day … long night,'' Blue Jays reliever Tyler
ST. PETERSBURG -- After landing at about 4 a.m. ET, then getting as much sleep as possible, the Blue Jays trudged into Tropicana Field to face the Rays on Friday night while battling fatigue from the previous day's rain-delayed doubleheader in Cleveland.
"Long day … long night,'' Blue Jays reliever Tyler Clippard said.
After a nearly two-hour rain delay before the opening pitch, the Blue Jays played seven hours and 58 minutes of baseball (including an 11-inning Game 1), which was five minutes shy of the club record for the longest amount of play (8 hours, 3 minutes in a 2015 doubleheader against the Yankees that also required 20 innings).
"That's baseball,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The tough part was the delay before the first game. I'm glad we got them both in and didn't have to come back [to Cleveland for a makeup game later in the season].
"It will beat you up. I don't like doubleheaders. Nobody does. Some guys are playing 18 innings, then you travel all night. But you know, it's tough to complain about anything in this job."
Smoak to return Sunday
Gibbons said first baseman Justin Smoak, who took a paternity leave to be with wife Kristin for the birth of their daughter on Thursday, will return for Sunday's series finale at Tropicana Field. In his last 10 games, Smoak is batting .306 (11-for-36) with two homers and six RBIs.
Gibbons has been heartened by the return of third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was activated Thursday from the disabled list after suffering from right shoulder inflammation.
In Cleveland, Donaldson became the 11th player in club history to homer in both parts of a doubleheader.
"It's a good boost for us,'' Gibbons said. "He has been one of the best players in baseball the past five, six years. He's a difference-maker. Even if he's not producing, every time he steps in the box, you have to be careful. He can change a game."
Sanchez ready for Rays
Right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who will start Saturday night's game, has a 1.24 ERA in 13 appearances against the Rays. He has a theory for that success.
"Playing here feels like home to me,'' said Sanchez, who has a home in nearby Palm Harbor, Fla. "There are raves for this mound [at Tropicana Field], and I like it, too. It's a very comfortable feeling here. Any time you get that sense of home kind of feeling, it's an advantage."
The Blue Jays on Friday recalled center fielder Dalton Pompey and shortstop Richard Urena from Triple-A Buffalo and also purchased the contract of right-hander Jake Petricka from the Minors.
Right-handers Joe Biagini, Carlos Ramirez and Luis Santos and outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. were sent down to Buffalo.
Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com.