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Roe notches 1st save, ready for any role in 'pen

Hechavarria, Kiermaier set to begin rehab assignments
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Reliever Chaz Roe picked up his first Major League save after pitching a scoreless ninth in Saturday's win over Seattle. It was an experience he hopes to repeat many times in his big league career.

"I've closed a little bit in the Minor Leagues and had a little success there. The ninth inning is a bit of a different animal," Roe said. "But I'm ready to do whatever they need me to do when that phone rings. And my name's called, I'll be ready."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Reliever Chaz Roe picked up his first Major League save after pitching a scoreless ninth in Saturday's win over Seattle. It was an experience he hopes to repeat many times in his big league career.

"I've closed a little bit in the Minor Leagues and had a little success there. The ninth inning is a bit of a different animal," Roe said. "But I'm ready to do whatever they need me to do when that phone rings. And my name's called, I'll be ready."

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Roe has been the Rays' most effective reliever since the departure of Alex Colome last month. In his last 16 appearances, Roe has a 2.04 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings, including a perfect sixth inning during Sunday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Mariners at Tropicana Field.

Manager Kevin Cash wasn't ready to commit to a dedicated closer, however.

"It'll be all matchups with Roe, [Sergio Romo], [Jose Alvarado], [Diego Castillo] and even Jonny Venters, who got the save in Oakland," Cash said. "It depends how we get there. We're not going to limit somebody in the sixth, seventh, eighth inning if we have a chance to nip it right there, we're going to put what we feel is the best matchup and then worry about the ninth when that comes."

Six pitchers have recorded at least one save for the Rays this season, the most in the Major Leagues. Since the departure of Colome, Cash has used four different pitchers to nail down the ninth inning.

Hech, KK near return

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (right hamstring) and Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb) took batting practice before Sunday's game. Neither reported any setbacks from their respective injuries, meaning they will begin rehab assignments this week.

Hechavarria will join Class A Advanced Charlotte for its series against Dunedin on Monday. Kiermaier will join Charlotte on Tuesday. Both are expected to be full participants at the plate and in the field. Cash did not set a timetable for either player's return to the big league team.

"KK is going to play for a while," Cash said. "It's not going to be some two-day stint. He might say he's ready, but we are going to make sure he is good to go. And in fairness to Hech, it's the same thing. He's had a lot of history with hamstring tightness in the past, so we've got to make sure he checks everything off before we activate him."

Turtle Power

Outfielder Carlos Gomez will continue his trend of using cartoon theme songs to get him pumped up when it is his turn to bat at Tropicana Field.

Gomez allowed his three children, who have joined him during Tampa Bay's current homestand, to select his walk-up music while they are in town. He plans to work the theme songs to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dora the Explorer into the playlist. He used the theme song to SpongeBob SquarePants as his walk-up music on Saturday.

"My kids love SpongeBob," Gomez said. "So when they come to the game, I know they'll enjoy it every time they play it."

Gomez picked up a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday. Gomez was not in the starting lineup for a planned day off after his violent collision with first baseman Jake Bauers while making a catch on Saturday.

Video: SEA@TB: Gomez makes diving grab, collides with Bauers

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay Rays