Rays take field in colorful style for good cause

September 8th, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays clubhouse was especially colorful before the team's game against the Orioles on Saturday afternoon.

As part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Day at Tropicana Field, many of the Rays players showed their support for the annual Cuts for a Cure event by cutting off their hair or dyeing it in their team colors. All proceeds benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Over the past five years, the annual event has raised over $60,000 for cancer research.

"I think it's a great charity," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think it's pretty special that the Rays have embraced it and our players embraced it. It's kind of cool. Usually we do it during Spring Training, but we're doing it now in September. You can see it's special and you can see the support some of the players have by making some really poor decisions by dyeing their hair gold and blue."

 Most of the players such as , , and opted for some version of blue and gold horizontal stripes. opted for the gold top with a gold "TB" written on the back. While reliever never considered chopping off his wavy shoulder-length locks in lieu of the dye job, he was more than willing to go with a tie-dye style color job.

"After they told me it was temporary, I told them to do whatever they wanted to it," he said.

Pham fighting through

Despite lingering discomfort from a mild groin strain that caused him to miss two games, outfielder Tommy Pham hasn't been hampered at the plate. His solo home run in Friday's 14-2 win over the Orioles extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest active streak in the Major Leagues. During that span, Pham is batting .413 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He has also driven in at least one run in each of his last five games.

Cash said that the team has been trying to balance the possibility of further aggravating the injury with the need to keep Pham's scorching hot bat in the starting lineup.

"There's no doubt he's playing in pain," Cash said. "He's managing it fairly well. We've asked him to be smart on the bases and we trust he can do that."

Since coming over in a trade with the Cardinals on July 31, Pham is batting .309 with a .949 OPS.

"He hits the ball really hard," Cash said. "Even when he first got here and was scuffling for his first 15-20 at-bats, he was still hitting the ball hard and having good at-bats. He just didn't have much fortune behind it. Now he's hitting the ball so hard they can't catch it."

No rush for Perez

Catcher Michael Perez is still a few days from returning to duty, according to Cash. Perez, who was placed on the 10-day DL on Aug. 31 -- retroactive to Aug. 29 -- with a mild left hamstring strain, was eligible to return on Saturday.

"He threw today and felt better but he still feels it a little bit when he squats," Cash said. "If you're squatting and coming up and down and feeling it, you're not ready to go yet."