Devil Rays Inside Pitch 6/2

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finally decided it was time to remake their rotation, calling up a pair of prospects, left-hander J.P. Howell and right-hander Andy Sonnanstine, to replace struggling Casey Fossum and Jae Seo.


The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finally decided it was time to remake their rotation, calling up a pair of prospects, left-hander J.P. Howell and right-hander Andy Sonnanstine, to replace struggling Casey Fossum and Jae Seo. Howell will start Sunday in place of Fossum, who was moved to the bullpen. Sonnanstine will make his major-league debut on Tuesday in Toronto, against Roy Halladay.

Manager Joe Maddon said the moves were the product of performance at both levels.

"We wanted to make sure the guys down below were ready, and the consensus opinion down there was those two people, and they were ready," he said. "We felt it was necessary to do something at this point."

Seo, 3-4 with an 8.13 ERA this season and a record of 4-12 with a 6.14 ERA in 28 games as a Ray, was designated for assignment. Fossum will move to the Rays' bullpen.

Howell, 24, lost out on the No. 5 starter's spot to Edwin Jackson this spring. He was 3-5 with a 3.96 ERA at Durham, with 64 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. In two stints with the Rays after being acquired from Kansas City last June, he was 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA.

Sonnanstine, 24, is something of a control freak, going 6-4 with a 2.66 ERA at Durham with only 13 walks (and 66 strikeouts) in 71 innings. He had to be added to the 40-man roster, which is why Seo was designated.

ROYALS 4, RAYS 1: Kansas City's Brian Bannister held the Rays to a season-low two-hits, and Scott Kazmir couldn't overcome his usual one shaky inning, allowing three runs in a 33-pitch second.


LHP Scott Kazmir was frustrated with more than his own performance, lashing out at his teammates' lack of effort on Friday. "This is just what's been going on this entire year," Kazmir said. "I just felt that as a team we didn't come out and play today." The Rays were held to two hits.

RHP Jae Seo was designated for assignment, giving the Rays 10 days to trade, release or pass him through waivers, which could allow them to send him to the minors. If Seo isn't claimed or traded, the Rays would be responsible the $793,443 remaining on his $1.2-million contract. "We tried, we tried, we tried," manager Joe Maddon said. "I really did think it was going to work out better for him at this point and it did not."

RHP Jae Kuk Ryu was optioned to Class AAA, where he will go back to starting. The Rays had been using him -- sparingly -- in relief. Also, LHP Jon Switzer was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, requiring another 40-man roster move on Saturday.

LHP Casey Fossum's move from the rotation to the bullpen gives the Rays their first lefty reliever of the season. Fossum, who worked in relief with Boston in 2002-03, made his debut with a crisp 1-2-3 ninth inning Friday and said a stint in the bullpen could help him regain arm strength.

RF Delmon Young picked up his ninth outfield assist, tying Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer for the major-league lead, by throwing out Emil Brown at second. It was Young's fourth assist in the last seven games.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 - Number of come-from-behind wins by the Rays, most in the majors. They also have the highest percentage of come-from-behind wins, .850 (17 of 20).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's bad to all fields. That's about it. There's no positive spin to put on it, there's nothing good to be said or written about it." -- Principal owner Stuart Sternberg, on the Elijah Dukes situation.



3B Akinori Iwamura (straining right oblique) was activated from the disabled list on May 28.

C Josh Paul (left elbow ligament sprain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 20 and might miss two months.

CF Rocco Baldelli (left hamstring strain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 16. He should return in early June.

RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.

RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.

Saturday preview- Edwin Jackson, 0-6 with a 6.90 ERA this season, will start Saturday night's game against Odalis Perez and the Kansas City Royals. Jackson pitched well in his last outing after being hit in the face on errant throw to the plate from left fielder Carl Crawford. Perez, who is 2-5 with a 5.61 ERA, will look for his third win of the season. This series features two of the top rookies in the American League playing against each other for the first time. Delmon Young and Alex Gordon, who have each had their share of offensive struggles this year, were both pre-season favorites to win the American League Rookie of the Year. Gordon, the 2006 Minor League Player of the Year, is only batting .180 in his first season in the big leagues.

Tyler Hissey contributed to on this story.

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