ST. PETERSBURG — In addition to pushing toward 100 wins, the Rays want to use the final week of the season to assess their options for the playoffs.
Monday, that meant calling up relievers Louis Head (for the 12th time this season) and lefty Ryan Sherriff, placing reliever Nick Anderson on the 10-day injured list due to a lower back strain and optioning infielder Jordan Luplow to Triple-A Durham, where he can get more work at first base.
Head and Sherriff, who last pitched in the majors Aug. 15, re-join the pool of relievers from which the Rays will pick a bullpen based on whom they play in the best-of-five American League Division Series that opens Oct. 7 at Tropicana Field.
Anderson got a save Sunday in his sixth appearance since joining the Rays after spending 5½ months rehabbing a spring elbow ligament tear, but has been inconsistent in his outings. Rest from dealing with the minor back issue could be of some benefit to his arm.
Luplow will get time to work on his defense and regular at-bats with the Bulls, which he would not have gotten with the Rays this week as he typically plays against lefties and they are facing mostly right-handers. Luplow is hitting .246 with a .796 OPS overall in 25 games with the Rays, though he has done better vs. right-handers (.320, 8-for-25) than left (.200., 8-for-40).
Both Anderson and Luplow will be eligible to return for the playoff opener.
The Rays are expected to make at least two more roster moves before Tuesday’s game in Houston, as reliever Andrew Kittredge is set to be activated off the injured list after dealing with neck tightness and someone will have to go.
In addition to naming outfielder Josh Lowe their minor-league player of the year and Shane Baz their top pitcher, the Rays on Monday announced other award winners:
Top reliever: Colby White, who went 3-3, 1.52, with 10 saves and 99 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings over 40 games at four levels — Low-A Charleston, High-A Bowling Green, Double-A Montgomery, Triple-A Durham.
Top defensive player: Taylor Walls, who won for the third straight year after making four errors in 163 chances for Durham at shortstop, second and third base.
Top baserunner: Greg Jones, the 2019 first-round pick who was successful on 34 of 36 steal attempts between Bowling Green and Montgomery.
The Rays also named MVPs for their five U.S.-based teams: Durham, Lowe; Montgomery, infielder Jonathan Aranda (.325, .950 OPS); Bowling Green, outfielder Jordan Qsar (23 homers in 98 games); Charleston, outfielder Diego Infante (.296, 16 homers, 80 RBIs in 101 games); Florida Complex League, infielder Willy Vasquez (.288).
Montgomery infielder Jim Haley won the Erik Walker Community Champion award given for teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement.
⋅ Charleston won the Low-A East championship; Montgomery lost in the fifth and final game of the Double-A South finals; Bowling Green on Monday played Game 4 of the High-A East championship.
⋅ Drew Rasmussen will start Wednesday against the Astros, and either Ryan Yarbrough or an opener on Thursday.
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