BOSTON — The Rays acquired RHP Jesse Crain from the White Sox on Monday confident the 32-year-old All-Star reliever can be a huge help to their bullpen.
What they don't know is when, as Crain has been on disabled list for a month with a shoulder strain.
"It's too early to speculate on exactly when, but with our training staff and everything we've learned about Jesse we're confident he will come back and impact this team," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "We feel like when healthy, Jesse is among the best relief pitchers in the game."
The Rays didn't appear to give up much for Crain — players to be named later or cash considerations; settled post-season. He is making $4.5 million at the end of a three-year, $13 million deal, then heads to free agency.
Crain was dominant the first half of the season, posting an AL reliever-best 0.74 ERA (three earned runs), with 16 holds and 46 strikeouts in 362/3 innings over 38 games, including 29 consecutive scoreless, to earn an All-Star selection. But he has not pitched since June 29 and had a recent setback.
Crain said Monday in Cleveland he was confident that with the right program — "rest and build-up" — he will return to form, noting the dismantling Sox were trying to get him back before Wednesday's trade deadline: "Hopefully this time we'll take our time and be ready for the rest of the year."
Crain was excited by the deal. "To get a chance to get healthy and pitch for a team in first place right now, there's nothing more you can ask for," he said.
Crain is projected to join Joel Peralta (whose workload has been a concern) and Jake McGee in late-inning situations and is effective against right- and left-handers. Friedman noted they could use some help given that after Aug. 12 they are only off twice in the final 48 days of the season.
"For us to have a chance to reach the playoffs and be really strong in the playoffs, having another option in high-leverage situations was something that was very appealing to us," he said.
"We have a lot of confidence in the guys that we have in our bullpen and really like our bullpen mix, but just to keep people fresh and be able to mix things around a little bit and be able to spot up in creative ways is something that was very attractive to us. We feel like we potentially strengthened a strength."
Crain, who will remain on the 15-day disabled list, is expected to join the Rays Wednesday then talk with and be evaluated by the medical staff to work out a rehab program. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Brandon Gomes was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, though he is close to being reinstated and potentially optioned to Triple-A Durham.
HUSTLE PLAY: OF Sam Fuld was chosen the Rays' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, given by MLB Alumni to players who show passion and embody the game's value, spirit and tradition on and off the field. "Given what the award represents, I definitely take a lot of pride in that," Fuld said. "I often think one of the best perks of being a major-league baseball player is the ability to impact others in a positive way."
REHAB REPORT: RHP Alex Cobb will throw a 45-pitch simulated game in Port Charlotte today with a plan to make a rehab start this weekend. He has been out since being hit by a line drive June 15 and delayed further by a blister. … Gomes (lat strain) worked 12/3 innings, allowing a homer, in his fourth rehab appearance for Charlotte.
MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to 11 games, RF Wil Myers extended his to 10, hitting .463 in the span. … After the 8-2 AL East trip, manager Joe Maddon said the Rays will have "a different vibe" at the Trop and will have "to make our own energy.'' … There is no decision yet on whether to go to a four-man rotation. … The Rays say about 7,000 of the $2 kids tickets for Wednesday remain; up to three can be purchased with one full-priced ticket.