OAKLAND, Calif. — The Rays seem to have found a way to make their shorthanded bullpen work.
They keep bringing in fresh arms.
For the second straight day, and the fourth time in 10 days, the Rays on Wednesday brought up a reliever from Triple-A Durham to take a spot on the six-man staff, and they will do so again for today's game.
"We thought we could deal with it," manager Joe Maddon said. "And we have been able to, the fact that we have all these different candidates that can fulfill that role."
The new reliever of the day Wednesday was RHP Rob Delaney, who worked three innings in their 13-4 loss to Oakland. Delaney took the place of RHP Jay Buente, who came up Tuesday and worked two innings after LHP Cesar Ramos had been sent down. (All three have been in the same locker.)
The Rays went through a similar routine last week, when they brought up LHP Alex Torres and pitched him, then replaced him with RHP Dane De La Rosa, then sent him down to make room for RHP Wade Davis' return from the disabled list.
Delaney, 26, who was put right to work as starter James Shields lasted only four innings, didn't stick around long, as he was sent back to the minors after allowing three runs. The Rays did not announce who would be coming up today.
"Rob sucking up those three (innings) were huge for us,'' Maddon said.
Delaney pitched extremely well for the Bulls, working on a 172/3-inning scoreless streak. He was 2-0 with two saves, 18 strikeouts and three walks in 10 July appearances (14 innings) and allowed a .109 average. Overall he was 4-1, 1.78 in 35 games for Durham. He spent two weeks with the Rays in May, making three appearances, two good, the other not so much.
Delaney got a call at 9:30 Wednesday morning that he was being called up, caught a 12:40 p.m. flight to Detroit and then another to San Francisco and arrived a half-hour before the game. Afterward, he was making plans to head back this morning.
"It went by fast,'' Delaney said.
Maddon said he didn't get word from executive VP Andrew Friedman until well after Tuesday's game that they were making the latest change, so he had to deliver the news to Buente in unusual fashion. Buente, who had flown from Durham to Miami and then to San Francisco, had already gone back to the hotel, and since Maddon wanted to talk in person he found Buente in the hotel bar.
The Rays are going with six relievers because they are using six starters as a way to limit innings. They believed it would work given how infrequently RHP Andy Sonnanstine, the seventh reliever for the first half of the season, was used.
MOORE WOWS: Top prospect Matt Moore, in his second Triple-A start, struck out 13 Gwinnett Braves in eight innings and allowed only three hits and two walks and one runner past first. He threw 104 pitches. … SS Reid Brignac was 3-for-4 in his first game for the Bulls after his Friday demotion. He had one three-hit game for the Rays all season.
DRAFT BREEZE: Third-round draft pick SS Johnny Eierman, an LSU commitment from Warsaw High in Missouri, signed for $550,000 according to Baseball America, more than double the recommended slot bonus.
MISCELLANY: Ben Zobrist extended his hitting streak to seven games. ... Elliot Johnson is scheduled to start at shortstop today. … Maddon, who has had issues with several calls this season, said he was pleased to see MLB issue a statement acknowledging the blown call in Tuesday's Pirates-Braves game. … According to Stats Inc., 3B Evan Longoria this week became the fourth player in the past 55 years to strike out four or more times one day and draw four or more walks the next.