Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays Play the Midnight Roster Shuffle

By Althea Pashman
Feb 15, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Adam Kolarek (71) leaves the dugout during MLB spring training workouts at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 15, 2017; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Adam Kolarek (71) leaves the dugout during MLB spring training workouts at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Tampa Bay Rays did a little tweaking with the bullpen during the midnight hours, as they departed with Pruitt and Alvarado while adding a comparatively unknown in Adam Kolarek.

The Tampa Bay Rays officially added tonight’s starter Blake Snell to the 25-man roster following Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates by optioning Austin Pruitt back to Durham. However, that was not the only move as Jose Alvarado was also optioned to Durham and replaced by Adam Kolarek, who will be making his MLB debut.

Pruitt was recalled from Durham on May 31 and picked up two wins and his first save in his second stint with the Rays. However, with Snell returning Pruitt heads back to Durham to hone his skills as he continues to transition to a reliever where he has excelled pitching to a 1.04 ERA.

Alvarado who was summoned from Double-A Montgomery on May 3, turned in some impressive performances when called upon during his first month, however since June 10 he has struggled terribly going 0-3 with a 14.54 ERA in 4.1 innings, giving up seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits.

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Overall he made 21 appearances, logging 18.1 innings going 0-3 with a 5.89 ERA in which he allowed 12 runs (all earned) on 16 hits with 14 strikeouts and seven walks.

It was likely that upon the return of Brad Boxberger Alvarado was going to be the odd man out.

But overtime it became apparent that his struggles were overwhelming, quickening the decision that he needed to be back in the minors.

Hoping to give them that immediate help out of the bullpen, the Rays have turned to left-hander Adam Kolarek, a 28-year-old rookie noted for his ground-ball rate, which comes in at 77% this season.

At Durham, Kolarek was 1-4 with a 1.36 ERA in 31 games with 29 strikeouts and 12 walks for a 7.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 in 33 innings. He has given up six runs (five earned) on 26 hits and has not allowed a home run.

Last year between Montgomery and Durham, Kolarek went 2-4 with two saves and a 3.19 ERA in 46 appearances over 59.1 innings. He allowed 25 runs (21 earned) on 40 hits with 61 strikeouts and 34 walks.

Kolarek was drafted by the New York Mets in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB Draft where he spent the first six years of his career before signing with the Rays organization last year.

He was released by the Rays, signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves this off-season with an invitation to spring training. Atlanta released him during spring training and he would re-sign with the Rays days later.

To accommodate Kolarek on the 40-man roster, Kevin Kiermaier was transferred to the 60-day DL and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Kiermaier can not return before Aug. 8.

Next: Rays to Set Record with Brendan McKay

While on the subject of the Rays bullpen, Boxberger was at Port Charlotte and threw a 20-pitch one inning rehab session for the Stone Crabs on Tuesday. Speculation is that Boxberger could rejoin the Rays in Baltimore over the weekend.

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