On Tuesday, the Rays made a pair of roster moves in order to add more depth to the 60-man player pool.
The Rays acquired right-hander Edgar García from the Phillies in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. García was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 and made his Major League debut last season, posting a 5.77 ERA over 37 appearances. He allowed 38 hits and 26 walks last season, striking out 45 in 39 innings.
“I really don’t know a ton about him. I know he’s a young right-hander that our guys like and does some interesting stuff,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “He has shown the ability to strike some people out, can pitch with his slider, but we’re looking forward to getting him to Port Charlotte and check him out and see how he’s doing. I know he’s had four or five days of down time so we have to get him ramped up again.”
García, who was designated for assignment by the Phillies last week, possesses a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a slider and a changeup that he threw just 1.5 percent of the time last season. Of those pitches, the slider is García’s most effective pitch.
Last season, García threw the slider 48.7 percent of the time and recorded 31 of his 45 strikeouts on the pitch. The 23-year-old held opposing hitters to a .222 average against the slider. He did, however, allow four home runs on the pitch.
While the slider is García’s best pitch, he will have to continue to improve his fastball command. García threw his four-seamer 43 percent of the time last season -- averaging 93.8 mph -- and opposing hitters finished with a .327 average and an average exit velocity of 90.8 mph.
García was added to the 40-man roster by Tampa Bay, but he will report to the alternate training site in Port Charlotte, Fla. With Andrew Kittredge and Colin Poche out for the season and with Oliver Drake and José Alvarado currently on the 10-day injured list, the Rays were in the market to add pitching depth.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays designated infielder Daniel Robertson for assignment. Robertson was one of the best players on the roster in 2018, slashing .262/.382/.415 with nine home runs. Since then, Robertson has struggled at the plate, hitting just .213 in 74 games last season, and Mike Brosseau surpassed him on the depth chart as the right-handed-hitting utility man.
“I think to Robertson’s credit, he played a lot last year, pretty banged up,” Cash said. “That didn’t help. With him being banged up, I think it presented some opportunities for players, whether it was Brandon [Lowe] or Mike Brosseau that came in and played well. That’s not a knock to Robbie. We appreciate all of his efforts and while he was active, he helped us win games.”
• Charlie Morton (right shoulder inflammation) continues to get closer to returning, throwing a “pretty intense” bullpen session on Tuesday in Port Charlotte, according to Cash.
“[He] felt good, really good,” Cash said. “Got out to 200 feet. … He’ll play catch tomorrow and we’ll continue to have conversations back and forth every day.”
Morton is eligible to come off the injured list on Thursday, though it’s likely that the Rays won’t activate the right-hander until the upcoming homestand.
• The Rays got some bad news surrounding Alvarado, who was placed on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation on Saturday. The left-hander visited a doctor in New York on Monday and after undergoing multiple tests, Cash said the Rays are shutting him down for 10 to 14 days.
“It appeared to be like a lat strain,” Cash said. “So we’ll probably have to take the ball out of his hand for a little while.”
With Alvarado out for at least two weeks, the Rays will continue to rely on Aaron Loup as the lone left-handed reliever in the bullpen.
• Drake (right biceps tendinitis) also continues to progress and will start a throwing program over the next couple of days.
Rays sign Enns
The Rays made a minor signing on Tuesday, coming to terms with left-hander Dietrich Enns and adding him to the 60-man player pool. Enns will report to the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
Enns made his Major League debut in 2017, appearing in two games with the Twins. Enns has not made it back to the big leagues since, despite stints with the Yankees and Padres organizations.
The left-hander was playing in independent ball this season with the Tully Monsters, and he allowed two runs on 10 hits over 18 innings. The 29-year-old is 47-38 with a 3.40 ERA over eight seasons in the Minors.