Third baseman/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo shares a laugh with shortstop Willy Adames inside the batting cages at Charlotte Sports Park on Tsutsugo's first day in camp. (Photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)
PORT CHARLOTTE (WDAE) -- The third practice of the spring turned out to be a light day for pitchers and catchers, but significant for the team as two of the newest pieces for the starting lineup made their way to Charlotte Sports Park.
Both outfielder Hunter Renfroe and third baseman/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo arrived in Port Charlotte Saturday ahead of Monday's report date for position players.
"I feel very good. I'm very excited to be at this facility right now," Tsutsugo said via translator Tsutomo Kamiya after working out Saturday. "Met a lot of good people today. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and being a good teammate."
Manager Kevin Cash had spoken to Tsutsugo through Facetime while he was in Japan, but Saturday was the first time seeing the slugger face-to-face since his introductory press conference in December.
"From what we know, his teammates are going to enjoy him," Cash said. "He carried a presence in Japan, and I think he'll do the same here once he gets acclimated. We just have to afford him the ability to get acclimated."
"He looks like can flat-out hit," center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said. "Has some power, excited to have him here."
For Renfroe, the journey from Mississippi to Florida may not be quite as long of a trip than going to Spring Training out west, but it still brings challenges.
"It's exciting, obviously to be with a new team with new guys," Renfroe said. "The hardest part is remembering everybody's names and trying to figure out where to go and stuff like that, because being in Florida is completely different than being in Arizona. It's going to be fun, and it's going to be obviously a good adventure."
The 28-year-old outfielder says his right ankle, which he suffered through a high ankle sprain inthe second half of 2019, feels great after undergoing a procedure in the offseason that not only cleaned out scar tissue from the injury, but also removed a bone spur in his foot and shaved down a calcified spot of a former break.
"I had a lot of issues down there," he joked.
Cash says they expect Renfroe to play both left and right field at times this year.
With the arrival of both Tsutsugo and Renfroe, as well as pitchers Brooks Pounders and Deck McGuire, who signed minor-league deals Friday and reported Saturday, 58 of the 67 players invited to big-league camp have arrived in Port Charlotte. The stragglers are first baseman Ji-Man Choi, third baseman Yandy Diaz, minor-league shortstop Lucius Fox, second baseman Brandon Lowe, first baseman Nate Lowe, infielder Joey Wendle, outfielders Randy Arozarena and Austin Meadows, and minor-league outfielder Ryan LaMarre. Report day for position players is Monday, with first full-squad workout set for Tuesday morning.
Listen to comments from Tsutsugo, Kiermaier and Renfroe below!