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Rays recall five, add Cole Sulser to taxi squad

Sulser is in position to make his major-league debut this week.
Injured Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow  is scheduled to start for Triple-A Durham on Monday. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
Injured Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to start for Triple-A Durham on Monday. DIRK SHADD | Times [ DIRK SHADD | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Sep. 1, 2019
Updated Sep. 2, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays will have another arm in their expanded bullpen.

Right-hander Cole Sulser was put on the taxi squad Sunday, ahead of his expected callup on Monday. Sulser is not currently on the 40-man roster.

“I definitely feel prepared and ready to try to contribute at the big-league level,” he said.

Sulser, 29, is in position to make his major-league debut with the Rays. Cleveland drafted Sulser of Poway, Calif., in the 25th round of the 2013 draft, but the Indians traded him this past offseason to the Rays with Yandy Diaz in a three-team deal that sent Jake Bauers to Cleveland. After Triple-A Durham’s game Saturday night, Bulls manager Brady Williams announced Sulser’s promotion in the clubhouse.

“I was just trying not to get too emotional in the moment,” Sulser said. “It was awesome having everyone from the team come up and tell me congratulations.”

Sulser played six seasons in the minors, missing all of 2015. He posted a 3.27 ERA over 66 innings for Durham this year.

His father and brother plan to travel to Florida this week to watch him potentially pitch for the Rays. His younger brother Beau is a 25-year-old pitcher in the Pirates organization. Beau made his most start with Double-A Altoona (Pa.) on Friday and is set to leave the team early to visit Cole in St. Petersburg.

“He had a pretty good showing in spring training,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Cole Sulser. “He’ll be a nice addition for us.”

The Rays also officially recalled five players before Sunday’s win over the Indians, activating first baseman Nate Lowe, catcher Michael Perez, infielder Daniel Robertson, right-hander Peter Fairbanks and left-hander Hoby Milner.

Teams can now activate any player on the 40-man roster. With the five additions, the Rays currently have 30 active players.

Season highs, career highs

Charlie Morton is having one of the best seasons of his career.

On Sunday, the veteran right-hander surpassed a milestone with 202 strikeouts this season. He finished the game with eight, giving him a career-high 209 this season.

Morton (14-6) also went 5⅓ for the win over the Indians, bringing his total innings to 170⅓ for the year, passing last season’s 167. He’s approaching his career high of 171⅔, set with the Pirates in 2011. Morton threw 108 pitches Sunday, a season high.

So is the 35-year-old concerned about efficiency?

“At this stage in my career, in this stage of the season, not really,” he said. “I’m concerned about going out there and giving everything I’ve got. I’m on pace to throw innings, make more starts, and it’s the first day of September. … I’m pretty optimistic about where I am.”

Medical matters

Starting pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell and Yonny Chirinos continue to work back from the injured list. Glasnow, out since early May with a forearm strain, is scheduled to start for Durham on Monday. The right-hander is set to throw two innings for the Bulls. In his first rehab outing Friday, he pitched a scoreless inning for Durham.

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The left-handed Snell, recovering from July elbow surgery, threw a bullpen session before Sunday’s game. Chirinos continues to play catch with tape on his injured middle finger, but the right-hander has not thrown off the mound. There remains no timetable for his return.

McKay in minors

Starting left-hander Brendan McKay took the mound for Durham on Saturday night, racking up eight strikeouts in three scoreless innings. “He threw strikes, which was encouraging,” Cash said. “More than anything, he felt really good and came out of it feeling healthy.”

Miscellany

• The Rays completed the trade for infielder Eric Sogard, officially sending right-handers Curtis Taylor and Edisson Gonzalez to Toronto. Taylor, 24, had a 3.06 ERA in 15 appearances for Double-A Montgomery, and Gonzalez, 19, had a 2.45 ERA in 62⅓ innings with short-season Class-A Hudson Valley.

• Centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, recovering from a bruised rib cage after running into the outfield wall in Baltimore on Aug. 25, returned Saturday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s wearing a wrap during games to help protect the injury. Kiermaier started again Sunday, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.