Advertisement
  1. Rays

Rays get reliever Kevin Jepsen back

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen (40) throwing in the seventh inning of the game between the Oakland Athletics at the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday May 21, 2015.
Published Jul. 15, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays added a familiar and experienced option to their bullpen on Thursday, bringing back RHP Kevin Jepsen after he was released by the Twins.

Jepsen, 31, passed a physical and threw a bullpen at the Trop after Thursday's workout and, though he has not pitched in a game since July 2, could be activated tonight.

Jepsen was acquired before the 2015 season (from the Angels for OF Matt Joyce) and did well until being traded to Minnesota at the July 31 deadline, a deal that upset others in the Rays clubhouse as the team was still in the wild-card race. The trade did net two prospects, one, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, doing well enough to have been selected for the All-Star Futures Game.

Jepsen struggled this season for the lowly Twins, posting a 2-5, 6.16 record, that led to him being designated for assignment and, with a $5.3 million salary, clearing waivers and being released. The Rays, responsible for only a prorated share of the major-league minimum, see him as helping with improved pitching as well as leadership. One rookie reliever — RHP Dylan Floro, Ryan Garton or Tyler Sturdevant — is likely to be sent down to make room.

Catching on: C Luke Maile will be called up from Triple A to replace Hank Conger, who was optioned to Durham on Monday.

Maile, 25, is known for his solid defense and throwing, and has shown improvement at the plate, hitting .345 over the past three weeks to raise his average to .242.

"I've just been trying to be myself," Maile said. "There's been some times when I've tried to do a little bit too much."

Maile got some experience last September and said that will help him focus on playing.

Manager Kevin Cash said they expected to bring Maile back at some point, and his recent offensive surge made this the right time, choosing him over veteran J.P. Arencibia.

Conger's struggles at and behind the plate surely contributed to the timing, Cash saying it was "a little bit unfortunate" he got off to a slow start and couldn't rebound. "We'll see if with consistent playing time he can iron out some things both offensively and defensively," he said.

Special K: CF Kevin Kiermaier played in both games of a doubleheader for advanced Class A Charlotte in an effort to get his timing down enough to return tonight from his eight week-stint on the disabled list due to a broken left hand. Rained out Wednesday, Kiermaier went 1-for-2 with a walk in the first game while playing centerfield and was the DH in the nightcap. The Rays will have to make a roster move to add Kiermaier, possibly sending down another reliever.

Rehab report: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session with no apparent issues Thursday, but he will get at least an extra day of rest before his next rehab start. Cobb left his Monday start, the second of a scheduled six, due to fatigue after one inning, having thrown 27 pitches. "Nothing bad happened," Cash said.

INF/DH Steve Pearce (hamstring) said he felt very good after a full workout and running the bases, with plans to start a rehab assignment this weekend and rejoin the Rays next week. … RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) will throw another bullpen session today but will need what sounds like an extended rehab. "He's gonna have to build back up, no doubt," Cash said. … OFs Desmond Jennings (hamstring) and Mikie Mahtook (broken left hand) are still in the workout stages.

Arched up: RHP Chris Archer said the answer to his extensive first-inning struggles is internal: "It's not that I need to warm up more or warm up less, it's just a matter of whenever I'm on the mound of attacking hitters."

Miscellany: About 20 players attended the optional workout; the Orioles worked out Thursday night. … The 34-54 record and 20 games under .500 were the Rays worst at the break since the 2005 team was 28-61. Those Devil Rays, for what it's worth, went 39-34 after the break.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Rays' Travis d'Arnaud drives in three runs with a bases-loaded double during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels. MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Since the May trade for $100,000, d’Arnaud has been a key contributor to the Rays’ success on and off the field.
  2. Brendan McKay, shown here in July at the Trop as the Rays' DH against the Orioles, comes through with his first major-league hit on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, against the Angels. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    After winning his June debut on the mound, the rookie gets his first hit Sunday. Also, Pagan as the savior, Meadows keeps streaking.
  3. The Angels' Andrelton Simmons beats the throw to Rays catcher Mike Zunino to score on a double by Albert Pujols during the first inning on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. ALEX GALLARDO  |  AP
    On the merits of resiliency, Yarbrough’s career-high workload, Pham’s adventurous albeit not costly trip around the bases.
  4. Rays shortstop Willy Adames battles a ground ball up the middle but can't come up with the single hit by the Angels' Kevan Smith during the third inning on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. ALEX GALLARDO  |  AP
    Angels 6, Rays 4: A rough outing by Ryan Yarbrough puts Tampa Bay down early, and a late rally wasn’t enough.
  5. The Rays wrap up their series with the Angels today at picturesque Angel Stadium in Anaheim. MARC TOPKIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Tommy Pham is hitting leadoff as the Rays go with six righty hitters vs. Angels lefty Sandoval.
  6. From left, Tampa Bay Rays' Joey Wendle, Austin Meadows and Ji-Man Choi meet at home plate after all three were driven in by a bases-loaded double from Travis d'Arnaud during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ  |  AP
    Rays 3, Angels 1: Glasnow’s solid start, and six strong innings from the bullpen are enough as Rays open lead over Indians.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jalen Beeks, left, and Johnny Davis congratulate each other after the Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels 11-4 in a baseball game Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    He shows off that elite speed Friday with a triple for his first hit, then some pent-up emotion afterward.
  8. Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a single from Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Daniel Robertson (28) at the bottom of the eighth inning against Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, Sept. 07, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.   ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times
    Tyler Glasnow will be on the mound for his second outing since an extended injured list stint.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays' Austin Meadows, right, is greeted in the dugout after a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, in Arlington, Texas. RICHARD W. RODRIGUEZ  |  AP
    Fred McGriff should be at the top, but there is an interesting list that Austin Meadows is already making a case to join.
  10. For several weeks, Rays manager Kevin Cash has had to look over his shoulder to see whether the Indians or Athletics have been gaining in the American League wild card race. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Rays, Indians and A’s are all projected to win 94 or more games. In the past quarter-century, only one team has won that much and failed to make the playoffs.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement