Notes: Trop power show; Robertson's fine-tuning

July 5th, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- When the Rays grouped , and in the same batting practice trio, they knew there was a chance for a lot of big swings.

The three didn’t disappoint on Sunday.

First of all, yes, it’s only batting practice, and Opening Day is still a couple of weeks away. But Sunday’s session of Díaz, Tsutsugo and Renfroe served as a reminder that Tampa Bay feels confident that it will have an upgraded offense in 2020.

Renfroe and Tsutsugo -- both offseason acquisitions -- got the round started off with a pair of loud home runs. Renfroe hit a pair of balls off the catwalks, which could be a common occurrence over the next couple of seasons with the slugger under club control through 2023.

“Renfroe was playing pepper with the back wall,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “That’s not something you see a lot of guys do.”

But as eye-catching as Renfroe’s session was, it was Tsutsugo and Díaz that hit the longest homers of the round. Tsutsugo walloped some long and loud drives, but none was more impressive than one that hit the Moffitt Cancer Center sign past the right-field bleachers.

Not to be outdone by Tsutsugo, Díaz grabbed his bat and followed it up by launching a ball into “The Ledge” area in left field. The round ended right after Díaz’s home run, but it’s likely that the trio will continue to get paired together, creating some must-see batting practices until games begin.

“You put Yoshi, Renfroe and certainly Yandy in a group together, and when they’re feeling it, balls are going to fly out,” Cash said. “They put on a pretty good show today.”

Taking attendance
Surveyed by a group of four beat reporters, there were 29 players spotted on the field for the second consecutive day. , , , and were not seen for the third consecutive day, while has not been on the field since the first workout on Friday.

Due to privacy and safety protocols, the Rays haven't commented on which players have not been at camp, or why.

Robertson’s fine-tuning
After a disappointing 2019 season, made some slight changes to his mechanics at the plate and started working with the personal coach of the Dodgers' Justin Turner. Robertson came into Spring Training fully prepared to have a bounce-back season, but then the season came to a halt. That allowed Robertson, despite the tough circumstances, to continue to work on his new swing.

“Not many times do you get to do something in the offseason, go put it to use, see what works, see what doesn’t work and then you get to go back home and keep grinding, keep working on the process,” Robertson said Sunday. “It’s only beneficial from my standpoint. … Definitely excited to see how it translates, for sure.”

Robertson will be competing for one of the last few spots on the Rays’ bench. His defensive versatility helps his case, and if he’s able to mirror his offensive production from 2018, he has a good chance at an extended amount of playing time in the infield.