Rays, loved ones prepping for Hurricane Irma

Rays, loved ones prepping for Hurricane Irma

ST. PETERSBURG -- Hurricane Irma is forcing the Rays to prepare for all possible outcomes as the Category 5 storm barrels through the Caribbean.

"I'm preparing for the worst," Kevin Kiermaier said. "I'm not a Floridian -- I'm from Indiana, this is all new stuff for me -- but I'm kind of panicking about it a little. I don't know what to do."

Kiermaier will fly his fiancee to Boston, where the Rays play their next series this weekend, and help her family travel to wherever they can be safe. Jacob Faria had his fiancee, Jessica, fly back home to California, and many other Rays are following suit in sending their loved ones home to safer ground.

"It's scary. I mean, Category 5, that's no joke," Faria said. "... All the guys are pretty much getting their families out of here. There's no point in having them stay back. Only a couple of guys live here year-round, so it's just easier to have them go back home for now and ride it out."

Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, with winds upwards of 180 mph. The storm hit the islands of Barbuda, St. Martin and Anguilla on Wednesday, and it could reach Florida this weekend.

"A lot of things can happen with its path and all that, but Mother Nature is undefeated every time certain things like this happen," Kiermaier said.

The Rays will fly to Boston on Thursday afternoon instead of after Wednesday's game in order to grant their players extra time to prepare for the storm. The Rays are scheduled to play the Yankees in St. Petersburg on Monday, but manager Kevin Cash said the team will pack for six road games instead of three just in case the contest must be moved.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.