ST. PETERSBURG — The recurrence of shoulder discomfort that led to reliever J.P. Feyereisen having surgery last week also led to the Rays dropping him from their 40-man roster.
With Feyereisen, 29, out until at least late August, the Rays designated him for assignment Tuesday with plans to trade him in the next few days. They needed to create space for free-agent addition Zach Eflin, whose signing was finalized.
“The injury was very poor timing,” Rays general manager Peter Bendix said. “I don’t know if there’s ever good timing for an injury, but we need the roster spot. Our 40-man (roster) is pretty jammed up. ...
“I appreciate everything J.P. has done for us. He didn’t give up (an earned) run last year (in 22 games before the initial injury), right? He was great on the mound. He was really great in the clubhouse, too. He’s a great person. We’re gonna miss him, both the pitcher and the person.”
The team that acquires Feyereisen could keep him on the 40-man roster until spring training, then place him on the 60-day injured list (when he won’t count against the roster). The Rays also could have done that but would have had to trade or drop someone else. Bendix said there was “certainly consideration” to do so, and “it wasn’t a clear move.”
Even before Feyereisen had surgery, the Rays were still seeking more relief help. “I don’t know that it necessarily causes a huge difference,” Bendix said. “We’re always on the lookout for talented depth.”
Zunino, Kiermaier will be missed
Catcher Mike Zunino has joined centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier as long-time Rays heading elsewhere as free agents. Zunino on Tuesday agreed to a one-year deal with Cleveland for a reported $6 million. Kiermaier on Saturday agreed to a deal with Toronto, with terms not yet reported.
Kiermaier seemed likely to leave, but there was some consideration of bringing back Zunino. Bendix said the Rays will miss both as players and people.
On Zunino: “I think he really took to us really quickly. The person he is, as well, the way he handled our pitchers, the way he handled our pitching staff, the presence in the clubhouse. ... Appreciate everything he did in the last four years, (which) was when we had really some of our most successful seasons. It’s really important to have a catcher who runs the pitching staff well and can do a lot of things well. It’s not a coincidence that we were so successful with ‘Z’.”
On Kiermaier: “He’s integral to what we’re doing. He’s the face of the franchise in a lot of ways. He was a tremendous player for us. And I think we’ll always be exceptionally appreciative of everything that he brought on the field, in the community, just the person that he is in the clubhouse, everything that he did for this organization. He’s a big reason why we’ve been so successful over the last 10 years.”
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