Arozarena says tiff with Díaz is resolved

September 21st, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder and infielder were involved in a heated incident in the parking lot at Tropicana Field after Monday night’s game against the Astros, part of the reason neither key contributor played in Tampa Bay’s loss to Houston on Tuesday night.

Arozarena said Wednesday through interpreter Manny Navarro that there were “a couple of little things that [Díaz] and I had to just talk about,” but he said the disagreement was behind them. Díaz was not available for comment before Wednesday’s game. Arozarena said the altercation was “nothing physical.”

“It was just something we just needed to talk about, mostly. Like I said, we're fine,” Arozarena said through Navarro. “I saw him today, and I talked to him today. We greeted each other, and everything's all good.”

Asked if their argument was about baseball or personal matters, Arozarena said through Navarro it was “much more so just personal stuff, but like I said, the conclusion was we took care of it and it’s all taken care of.”

News of the altercation was first reported by Zac Blobner and Tom Krasniqi of WDAE 95.3 FM/620 AM, the Rays’ flagship radio station. They reported that Arozarena and Díaz “had to be separated” after their “physical altercation.”

“We both spoke and we talked about it,” Arozarena said through Navarro. “Our goal now is just to focus on what's going on on the field in between the lines, and then focus on making it to the playoffs and focusing on helping out this team however we can.”

When asked about their absence from the lineup before Tuesday’s game, manager Kevin Cash said the Rays were “just trying to manage workloads” and declared them both available off the bench if needed. There was reason to believe both might be limited.

But on Wednesday, Cash acknowledged the incident was “part of the reason” neither player started on Tuesday night, when the Rays were shut out for the second straight game and saw their scoreless streak reach 20 innings.

“I think these players, we owe it to them to keep what goes on in the clubhouse, in the clubhouse,” Cash said. “But I'm very confident we're past everything.”

Arozarena sat out Saturday and Sunday due to a fever that he said reached 104 degrees, played in Monday’s series opener, sat out Tuesday then returned to the Rays’ lineup on Wednesday, batting cleanup and playing left field. The 27-year-old spent part of Tuesday night’s game sitting in the Rays’ bullpen, but he said he was just talking to bullpen catcher Charlie Valerio and reliever Javy Guerra.

“I was ready there in the ninth, when the bases were loaded,” Arozarena said through Navarro. “I was ready to play.”

Díaz did not start for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, his second straight night out of the lineup. Cash said the Rays are being careful with their most valuable hitter’s playing time, as the 31-year-old is battling through a left shoulder issue that “has been barking at him a little bit on the finish on his swing.”