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Off-day moves



During their off day today, the Rays placed reliever Jay Witasick on the 15-day disabled list and optioned LHP J.P. Howell to Triple-A Durham, recalling RHP Jason Hammel and RHP Juan Salas from Durham.

It appears that Hammel, who allowed two runs on three hits through four innings starting the first game of Saturday's doubleheader and was then optioned back to Durham to resume starting, will likely take over as the team's fifth starter.

Howell's return to the starting rotation offered little success. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in five innings in the night game of Saturday's doubleheader and is 1-4 with a 7.36 ERA in eight starts with the Rays.

The move also marks the big-league return of Salas to a beleagured bullpen in need of help. Salas was suspended 50 games for violating MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program. He was reinstated from the restricted list July 3 and pitched to a 2.08 ERA and a .161 opponents batting average in eight games at Durham.

Salas -- who was selected to join the club over other options like Seth McClung, Chad Orvella and Jeff Ridgway -- might be an immediate candidate to pitch in the late innings.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:32am]


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