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Tampa Bay Rays claim veteran reliever Russ Springer off waivers from Athletics

SEATTLE — The Rays had interest in adding veteran Russ Springer to their bullpen anyway. After going through two extra-inning games in four days, they believed it was even more important to make a move.

The 40-year-old right-hander was claimed on waivers from Oakland, with the Rays assuming the nearly $1 million remaining on his $3.3 million contract.

He'll join a bullpen expanded — at least for the duration of this road trip — to eight. Little-used infielder Joe Dillon was designated for assignment to make roster room. Springer will be used in many situations, including late-inning, high-leverage.

"He's done a really good job against right-handed hitters this year, he's very durable, he's really been pitching well lately," manager Joe Maddon said. "I've known him for a long time. He's got a great personality. He fits into our group really well."

Springer was 0-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 48 games with Oakland but had a 1.61 ERA over 25 games since early June. He was excited to be back in a pennant race (he has been to the playoffs four times), and to be reunited with former Astros teammate/buddy Dan Wheeler and coach Jim Hickey.

"I pitch better when there's something on the line," he said. "I'm feeling good, and I'm going to have some adrenaline out there I haven't had in a while, and you can't fake that."

He was also relieved the deal was real. Oakland manager Bob Geren woke him Saturday with a call to his Kansas City hotel room telling him he was now a Ray, but when more than two hours passed with no official word, Springer began to wonder if "maybe he's punking me."

Team XX

Team XX


Tampa Bay Rays claim veteran reliever Russ Springer off waivers from Athletics 08/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, August 9, 2009 7:17am]
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