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USA TODAY Sports’ Steve Gardner breaks down the ALDS match up. USA TODAY

OAKLAND, Calif. – Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz had played in just one game since late July, his breakout season nearly wrecked by a foot fracture. He was not a sure bet to make the postseason roster, let alone start.

So when he led off Wednesday’s American League wild-card game in front of 54,005 fans, it would have been understandable for Diaz to feel nervous, perhaps a bit worried his swing might not be ready for such a big moment.

Well, Diaz has dealt with much more trying situations than a mere playoff game.

The Cuban exile

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