Rays add bullpen depth in claiming Jimmy Yacabonis

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DETROIT — The Rays made a post-trade deadline move Thursday to add some depth to their bullpen, claiming right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis off waivers from the Marlins.

Yacabonis, 30, is expected to join the Rays on Friday, and they’ll have to drop a pitcher from the current staff to make room.

Yacabonis has pitched parts of five seasons in the majors with the Orioles, Mariners and Marlins. He was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in nine games this season for Miami before being designated for assignment, following his July 30 reinstatement from the injured list (left groin strain). He has a career record of 4-6 with an 5.80 ERA in 66 games, working mostly in relief.

Rays manager Kevin Cash remembered Yacabonis pitching against his team for Baltimore and said reports are that he has improved. “Good arm,” Cash said. “I’ve heard that the slider has gotten better every year.”

How the Rays make room will be interesting.

In explaining why the Rays didn’t add a reliever at the deadline, baseball operations president Erik Neander said they valued the flexibility of having at least one reliever with options so they could shuffle him out and add a fresh arm when needed.

But it is that reliever, Ralph Garza Jr., who seems most likely to go for Yacabonis — unless there is an undisclosed injury issue with another pitcher.

If so, it would be the fifth and — under new rules enacted this year — final time Garza can be optioned. The Rays could call him up one more time, but if they tried to send him down again, he would have to be exposed to waivers.

Manuel Margot honored

Outfielder Manuel Margot, working toward a late August return from a right knee injury, was chosen as the Rays’ winner of the Heart & Hustle award, given to a player on each team by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. The award honors players who demonstrate a passion for and “best embody the values, spirit and traditions” of the game. “Congrats to Manny, for sure,” Cash said. “I think he does a large part of setting the tone for a lot of the guys in this clubhouse and certainly on the field. We’ve missed him. So I’m looking forward to seeing his heart and hustle soon.”

Medical matters: Mejia, Glasnow

Catcher Francisco Mejia is expected to be reinstated from the injured list Friday after a minimum 10-day stay due to a right shoulder impingement. … Cash said Tyler Glasnow, who joined the team on the road trip as he advances through his Tommy John surgery rehab, is slated to throw two bullpen sessions under the eye of pitching coach Kyle Snyder. … The Rays soon should have an update on centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who underwent left hip surgery on Wednesday.

Miscellany

Yandy Diaz made errors on back-to-back plays, his first as a third baseman in nearly a year, since Aug. 20, 2021. ... Veteran right-hander Corey Kluber will start for the Rays Friday, coming off a season-high 10-strikeout outing Saturday against Cleveland. He has a 7-3, 3.95 record in 12 games at Comerica Park. ... The Rays made several lineup changes just before game time, Cash noting his own mistake in having lefties Brandon Lowe and Ji-Man Choi hitting back to back. He moved Isaac Paredes up to third behind Lowe and Choi to fourth, then flipped Randy Arozarena to fifth and David Peralta to sixth.

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