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Frieri hopes Triple-A stint leads to rebound

Rays appreciate pitcher's willingness to accept assignment

SEATTLE -- The Rays signed Ernesto Frieri to a one-year, $800,000 Major League contract in November, and the veteran right-hander broke camp with the big club with mutual hopes of rebounding with a sterling season out of the bullpen. Even after a slow start that has seen him demoted to Triple-A Durham on June 2, it still could happen.

Frieri, like former Rays reliever Grant Balfour, elected to accept the Minor League assignment rather than attempt to make a go of it elsewhere.

"From talking to him, we are happy about that," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Hopefully he can get down to Durham, get some regular opportunities, appearances, and kind of get himself back to the pitcher that he thinks he is, that we feel he is, and at some point come and help us."

Frieri pitched in 22 games for the Rays this season and compiled a 4.63 ERA. He had 19 strikeouts but also 11 walks in his 23 1/3 innings. Now he'll try to iron out his mechanics, and he'll get the necessary innings to try to make that happen.

Cash said it's a testament to the strength of the Rays organization that pitchers want to stay, despite bumps in the road.

"Ernie made it clear -- this was a place he wanted to sign," Cash said. "That definitely helps. He's bought into what the philosophy is here and the great pitching coaches we have throughout the system. I think it sends a positive message."

Worth noting

• Cash said there's nothing new on starter Jake Odorizzi, who left Friday night's game with left-oblique soreness, and that there wouldn't be an update until the team gets back to the Tampa area and the right-hander can see a doctor Monday or Tuesday.

• Initial reports that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was held out of Sunday's lineup because he hyperextended his left elbow in Saturday's game were premature, according to Cash. The manager said there's no issue with Cabrera and that he simply got the day off to grab two days of rest with the team off Monday.

• Third baseman Evan Longoria was not in Sunday's lineup for a second straight day because of wrist soreness.

• Cash said outfielder Desmond Jennings (left-knee bursitis), who hasn't played since April 25, will head off Monday to the Steadman Clinic in Colorado for further testing.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Ernesto Frieri