Devil Rays (off day)
The Devil Rays made an interesting and unexpected move yesterday. With two openings in the bullpen, the Rays recalled Jason Hammel from Durham. Having already dipped into the Durham relief corps and drawing two blanks, Andrew Friedman decided on an alternative solution to the Rays abysmal bullpen. Hammel was having a strong start to the season as a starting pitcher for the Bulls and was considered an option to fill one of the holes in the rotation. Now he is being called upon to shore up the leaks in the ‘pen. And of course by “leak” we really mean holes the size of the Trop.
This move means that the Rays have already seen enough in two starts from Andy Sonnanstine and JP Howell that they will stay in the rotation for the time being. It also means that Edwin Jackson is now officially on notice. If the team truly sees Hammel as a starting pitcher in the long run, they will not want his stay in the bullpen to be an extended one. Moving from the bullpen to the rotation can be a difficult adjustment for some pitchers and for most pitchers it can take several starts before they build up the endurance to be able to pitch deep into games. If Jackson fails to show improvement in his next 2-3 starts, look for Hammel and Jackson to switch roles.
Hammel has proven that he deserved another shot at the majors. Friedman and Maddon needed an arm in the bullpen and they went to Durham and chose the best arm that was available. It just happened to be a starting pitcher.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- To fill the other open spot in the bullpen, the Rays will sign Jay Witasick who was released by the A’s last week. Witasick struggled with his control in Oakland. In 15 innings, he walked 9 batters and gave up 14 hits.
- Surprisingly, Jae Seo has accepted his demotion to Durham rather than become a free agent.
- Dioner Navarro could return to the lineup as early as tonight. And yes, we are aware that Raul Casanova has homered in two straight games, but there is no reason for Navi to worry about his job. Casanova has been a role player in parts of 8 major league seasons. Entering 2007, he had 28 home runs in 960 at bats and a career .233 batting average. That would equate to about 15 home runs over a 500 at bat season. Oh yeah…and he is 34 years old. He is not all of the sudden Johnny Bench.
- Al Keck and Tom Korun of ABCActionNews have a new blog that covers the local sports teams including the Rays. It’s worth checking out. [Sports Talk]
- Scott Kazmir feels that is on the verge putting everything together.
- In two starts Andy Sonnanstine has 15 strike outs and no walks. In the minor leagues he posted a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Only 28 pitchers in the history of baseball have posted a ratio of better than 3:1 with a minimum of 1000 innings pitched. Will The Duke be able to keep up his success as a major league pitcher? Our guess is that if Sonny can stay in the majors for 1000 innings, he will be definitely end his career in the top 30 all-time. Not bad.
- Remember Shinji Mori? The free agent relief pitcher the Rays did sign? We can’t blame you if your memory is a little hazy. He never threw a single pitch in a regular season game. Yesterday he was released by the Rays.