ST. PETERSBURG — OF Jason Bourgeois earned a place in Rays history with his walkoff single in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Seattle. And he earned a few more days on the team.
Needing to create space on their 25- and 40-man rosters as they activated RHP Alex Cobb from the 60-day disabled list Thursday, the Rays decided to designate INF Ryan Roberts for assignment and hang on to Bourgeois.
"A very difficult moment really," manager Joe Maddon said. "You look at the different skill sets and what you think you might need right now, and we chose to go with Jason."
The stay might not be for long, as the team will have to make another move when OF Desmond Jennings comes off the DL, possibly as soon as Monday.
But Bourgeois, 31, welcomes all chances after spending the first four-plus months of the season at Triple A.
"I'm just trying to take advantage of any opportunity given," he said before going 0-for-2 with a walk in Thursday's 7-1 win. "I'm blessed to be in this situation anyway, coming in as a (minor-league) free agent. So whatever punches are thrown at me, I'm just willing to take them pretty much."
Roberts, who makes $2.95 million, started the season with the Rays but was sent to Triple-A Durham on June 18 to make room for OF Wil Myers and had been brought back three times. Though he has an option remaining and could have been sent back to Durham, the Rays decided to free up the 40-man roster spot by designating him. They now have 10 days to trade, release or pass Roberts through waivers to send him back to Durham. Maddon praised Roberts' professionalism and class in handling the situation.
A DELMON RETURN? There appears to be mutual interest and conversations between the Rays and OF/DH Delmon Young, who is on release waivers from the Phillies and will be free to sign elsewhere starting Saturday. Young, 27, would welcome the chance to rejoin his original team, and the Rays could use another right-handed bat. Young, coming off ankle surgery, hit .261 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 80 games.
TURNAROUND NEED: RHP Jeremy Hellickson has lost his past three starts, failing to get through five innings in any and posting a 9.75 ERA. But he starts tonight, steadfast in his belief that nothing is drastically wrong.
"If you look at the game, I struggled pretty bad. I think it was just one inning and a few pitches in that inning that cost me a lot of runs. If I can just eliminate that, I'll be okay," he said. "I feel good, my stuff is feeling pretty good, I've just got to throw more strikes and have a little better command."
MEDICAL MATTERS: The team is hoping LHP Matt Moore (elbow) can start by next weekend, confident the discomfort he felt Wednesday, primarily on the changeup, won't lead to a long delay. Moore will rest until playing catch Sunday and then be re-evaluated. … Jennings (fractured finger) bunted, hit off a tee and took swings at flipped balls, progressing next to tossed balls. … RHP Brandon Gomes threw 1⅔ innings for Durham on the 30th and last day of his rehab assignment. The Rays may wait a few days but are expected to reinstate Gomes from the 60-day DL, forcing another 40-man roster move, and option him to the Bulls. … RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, working back from elbow-ligament replacement surgery, had to rest a few days because of lat soreness.
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MISCELLANY: Cobb is the first Rays starter to get a win this season in August. … Myers now leads all AL rookies with 35 RBIs. … 3B Evan Longoria hit his eighth first-pitch homer. … The Rays are bumped off their flagship radio station tonight for Bucs football and can be heard at 1250-AM and 97.9 FM. … LHP David Price, Jennings and Moore will visit their Dugout Clubs at south St. Petersburg rec centers today.