ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays added outfielder Brett Phillips and lefty reliever Ryan Sherriff to their 28-man roster for the World Series, dropping relievers Jose Alvarado and Aaron Slegers.
The changes give them 13 pitchers and 15 position players for the best-of-seven series against the Dodgers that starts tonight. First pitch is at 8:09 p.m. ET.
Adding Phillips, acquired in an August trade from Kansas City, was expected.
He was dropped when the Rays added a 14th pitcher for the American League Championship Series, having appeared in four games over the first two rounds, used primarily as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. He also provides insurance if starting centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is further limited by the left wrist that has been sore since being hit by a pitch in the Oct. 13 ALCS game. Kiermaier was not in the starting lineup the next three games.
Sherriff is a bit of a surprise, having pitched in 10 games during the season, though not allowing any runs. He is more capable of throwing multiple innings, if needed, and also may be viewed as a more dependable option than Alvarado, who was added to the ALCS roster after being out since mid-August with a shoulder injury.
Slegers, a right-hander who can cover multiple innings, pitched only three times in the postseason, though he did play a key role in helping keep the bullpen fresh by working 2 2/3 innings in the ALCS Game 5 loss.
The Rays opted to keep rookie lefty Josh Fleming, who could fill that role, and provides better balance for the staff, which now includes six lefties and seven right-handers.
A factor in adding a position player and reducing the pitching staff from 14 to 13 was taking advantage of the Series having built-in off days after Games 2 and 5, where the previous two series were played on consecutive days.
“It’s just an element that we’ve not had,'' team manager Kevin Cash said Monday. "You’ve got two days off (since playing ALCS Game 7 Saturday), two games and then another off day. We should be able to keep our pitching fairly clean and fresh.”
Also a factor in the makeup of the bullpen is the Dodgers' balance of right- and left-handed hitters.
Top prospect Wander Franco created buzz about him being added to the roster when the infielder posted an Instagram video Monday of his jersey with a World Series patch, but the 11 players on what is essentially the taxi squad all get uniforms.
Franco, 19, has not played above Class A and spent the season working out at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte. Franco, infielder Vidal Brujan and pitcher Brent Honeywell were among the prospects added to the 40-player postseason pool, which has since been reduced to 39 with Oliver Drake designated for assignment and electing free agency after sustaining an arm injury.
Here is the Rays' World Series roster:
Pitchers (13): RH Nick Anderson, RH Diego Castillo, RH John Curtiss, RH Pete Fairbanks, LH Josh Fleming, RH Tyler Glasnow, LH Aaron Loup, LH Shane McClanahan, RH Charlie Morton, LH Ryan Sherriff, LH Blake Snell, RH Ryan Thompson, LH Ryan Yarbrough
Catchers (2): Michael Perez, Mike Zunino
Infielders (6): Willy Adames, Mike Brosseau, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle
Outfielders (7): Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot, Austin Meadows, Brett Phillips, Hunter Renfroe, Yoshi Tsutsugo
In player pool (11): LH Jose Alvarado, INF Vidal Brujan, INF Wander Franco-y, LH Sean Gilmartin-y, C Ronaldo Hernandez, RH Brent Honeywell Jr., INF Nate Lowe, INF/OF Brian O’Grady, RH Trevor Richards, RH Aaron Slegers, C Kevan Smith.
y-not on 40-man roster