Head trainer Ron Porterfield faces an endless array of ailments facing his players, as evidenced by this year alone.
Rays trainer Ron Porterfield talks with manager Joe Maddon during the recent homestand at Tropicaa Field.
There are the hours Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and his staff put in at the park treating the players and there is the hour or so each morning that Porterfield spends planning the day.
And then there are the times in between when Porterfield
often finds himself lying awake and wondering what if?
"There are days when you wake up and start thinking, 'What else can I do?
What am I missing?' And it drives you nuts," Porterfield
"And if you lay there in the dark you can stay up all night thinking about it."
Porterfield, who will serve as the American League trainer at Tuesday's All-Star game at Citi Field in New York, is driven to find a solution to Evan Longoria's plantar fasciitis or the vertigo that Alex Cobb developed after suffering a concussion because it's his job and because healthy players increases the Rays' chances of winning.
"And I want to win, man. Winning is fun," Porterfield
"There's nothing like winning.
We've been fortunate to be in the playoffs, and if the season ends and you're not in the playoffs it's an empty feeling."
and his staff - assistant trainers Paul Harker and Mark Vinson, strength and conditioning coach Kevin Barr and massage therapist Nate Leet - start each day by asking each other the same question: You ready to charge up that hill?
"We never know what that day's going to bring," Porterfield
"You come in and you don't know what to expect.
Who's going to be sick today?
Who's going to have a stiff back?
A stiff neck?"
The Rays are a little biased, but they believe Porterfield
staff are the best in the big leagues.
But then Porterfield
is a little biased when it comes to his
"They're awesome, man," he
Porterfield has been the Rays' head athletic trainer since 2005.
He was a walk-on football and baseball player at New Mexico State University, though that did nothing to prepare him for the effort needed to play big-league baseball on a daily basis.
"I've never had to compete at that level, so I don't know how hard it is to mentally make it through that day," he
"It's pretty tough.
I can't imagine."
Which is why Porterfield
is so committed to making the players healthy, turning over every stone, he
said, to ensure they return from an injury or devising a training routine to help them avoid injuries.
"I always look at it like this," he