The Tampa Bay Rays are set to begin their first series in Toronto, facing the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre for the first time since the pandemic forced the club to take up a temporary residence in Buffalo, New York.
The Blue Jays, of course, play in Toronto, Ontario, where Canada’s COVID rules for visitors apply. The Canadian policy is that only those fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus can enter the country, and there is no exception for athletes. Major league teams have all had to leave behind any unvaccinated players when they travel to play the Blue Jays. Thus, the Rays have been forced to place two relievers, LHP Brooks Raley and RHP Ryan Thompson, on the restricted list.
Meanwhile, LHP Jeffrey Springs, who was slated to be the Rays starting pitcher tonight, has been placed on the Family Medical Emergency list.
In their stead, the Rays have called up RHP Javy Guerra, RHP Phoenix Saunders, and LHP Ryan Yarbrough from Triple-A Durham.
All three pitchers have spent time with the Rays this season, with Yarbrough being the most notable among the group as the Rays will look to him to cover multiple innings due to Springs’ sudden departure. Yarbrough had been demoted after a very shaky start to his 2022, and honestly his numbers in Durham (4.74 ERA in 19 innings pitched) don’t inspire confidence.
But we’ll get to see him in action as the Rays take on the Blue Jays tonight at 7pm, kicking off.