ST. LOUIS — Rays RHP Joel Peralta was placed on the 15-day disabled list and sent back to St. Petersburg on Tuesday for blood work to determine if he has chikungunya, a virus he apparently contracted when bit by a mosquito when he returned to the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break.
“He wasn't going to be back by (today). His strength level is going to be hurting a little bit, so it's something we had to do,” manager Joe Maddon said.
It could take several days for the results of the blood test.
Peralta's symptoms — high fever, joint pain and a back rash — are consistent with the virus. Peralta was examined Friday in Minneapolis by Twins team orthopedist Vijay Eyunni, who has experience treating infectious diseases.
The Pinellas County Health Department contacted the Rays so they could document the virus.
LHP Jeff Beliveau was recalled to fill Peralta's spot in the bullpen.
Peralta's condition was cause for concern among his teammates.
“They were totally weirded out by the whole thing,” Maddon said.
Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield addressed the team Tuesday before batting practice to explain the virus.
“The players are concerned only because they are unaware,” Maddon said. “Apparently you have to be bit by this dreaded mosquito in order to get it. If they've shaken Peralta's hand I don't think it can be transmitted. It's not an airborne kind of thing. Obviously if we thought our players were in jeopardy we would have done something.”
Maddon said Peralta felt better Tuesday but couldn't predict a timeframe for his return. The move to the DL was retroactive to July 13, so he is eligible to come off Monday.
Since Peralta hasn't pitched since July 12, he likely will need one or two rehab appearances before he's ready to rejoin the team.
RF Kevin Kiermaier was the Rays' recipient of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association's Heart and Hustle Award.
The MLBPAA selects one player on each team and determines one league-wide winner at the end of the season.
“I'm just happy that I'm getting recognized for the way I play,” Kiermaier said. “That's the only way I know, and you can bet I'll be like that for as long as I'm playing this game.”
Kiermaier has sparked the Rays with his offense and his defense since early June when he became a regular in the lineup. He's run singles into doubles and held runners to one base by cutting off line drives down the line. Kiermaier even runs out his walks.
“That's my thing,” Kiermaier said. “A lot of guys are like, 'Hey, man, it's called a walk for a reason.' I'm just trying to get my legs loose in case I have to score on a ball in the gap. I don't try to Cadillac anything by any means. I like running, get the heart rate going and trying to score from first.”
Fans of the game
A number of Rays players caught the final innings of Sunday's Dodgers-Cardinals game at Busch Stadium after they arrived in town following their charter flight from Minneapolis.
LHP David Price said plans were made on the bus ride to the team hotel, which is across the street from the stadium.
The players — 3B Evan Longoria, 2B Logan Forsythe, RHP Grant Balfour, RHP Kirby Yates, OF Matt Joyce, LHP Erik Bedard and C Curt Casali — arrived in the seventh inning. Guards let them enter the stadium for free and they sat in the second deck down the left field line.
“The game looks a lot slower from the stands. They had (Cardinals RHP Trevor) Rosenthal throwing 99 (mph on the stadium scoreboard), it looked like it was 59. I can definitely see how fans can moan and groan out there. It looks so easy. The game looks a lot slower. I even jumped up when somebody hit a ball to left. It was about a 200-foot fly ball and I thought it was a 400-foot homer,” Price said.
RF Wil Myers' rehab has progressed to the point where he can throw a baseball. He's still swinging a Speed Hitter (hitting coach Derek Shelton is the spokesman).
C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) began throwing but is not ready for rotational exercises.
INF Tim Beckham (right knee surgery), who began his 20-day rehab assignment Monday, is expected to play shortstop today for the Gulf Coast League Rays.
OF Jerry Sands had surgery Tuesday to repair the sheath in his left wrist that was completely torn from the bone. Sands is expected to be ready by spring training.
Price is listed as the starter Friday, when the Rays begin a three-game series at the Trop with the Red Sox. RHP Jeremy Hellickson will rejoin the rotation this weekend, but the Rays have not announced which game he will pitch. … This is Beliveau's fifth stint this season with the Rays and his ninth in the past two seasons. … Maddon had dinner Monday at Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood in downtown St. Louis. The former Cardinal presented Maddon with a bat autographed by the late Stan Musial. … Ben and Julianna Zobrist chartered two buses filled with 120 family and friends from Ben's hometown in Eureka, Ill.