On Monday, the Tampa Bay Rays added another experienced option for the final six weeks of the regular season, signing right-hander David Robertson to a Major League contract. To make room for the right-hander, the Rays transferred southpaw Jeffrey Springs to the 60-day Injured List due to a torn ACL in his right knee.
Robertson, who pitched for Team USA during the Summer Olympics, hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2019. He is expected to report to Triple-A Durham, where the 36-year-old will work back-to-back games, wrap-around innings, and so on before calling him up.
Because of it, Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said they have “probably earmarked September” for Robertson’s big-league arrival, which gives the team about two weeks to evaluate him and clear a couple of extra roster spots to accommodate the hurler.
He most recently pitched in the gold medal contest in the Olympics, working three innings with a 6.00 ERA. Yet, he posted a 2.90 ERA over parts of 12 seasons with the Yankees, White Sox, and Phillies before undergoing Tommy John surgery after making seven appearances for Philadelphia in 2019.
From 2010-18, the cutter/curveball throwing hurler was one of the game’s most successful relievers, racking up 583 innings between New York and Chicago, and pitching to a 2.72 ERA with a 32.6% strikeout rate and a 9.3% walk rate (3.51 K/BB). In the Bronx, Robertson served as a setup man for Mariano Rivera then eventually stepped up as the closer in New York’s first post-Rivera season before inking a four-year, $46-million deal on the south side of Chicago.
Springs, who was transferred to the 60-day IL, sustained a right knee sprain on July 31 at the Trop and felt discomfort in his knee during attempts to rehab the injury. He underwent season-ending surgery on Monday afternoon to reconstruct the torn ligament.
Springs had hoped to return later this season, although he won’t be ready until Spring Training.
It’s a disappointment that he is done, for sure. He’s just been really good for us throughout the course of the season. Another one of our key guys that is down. And with some of the other ones that are down, there’s a hope to come back. With him, we know we won’t see him until next spring.— Kevin Cash
Springs was an asset in the Rays’ bullpen prior to the injury, maintaining a 3.43 ERA and a 3.92 FIP, with a 1.10 WHIP and 63 strikeouts across 44.2 innings (43 appearances).
Meanwhile, the Rays selected the contract of right-hander Chris Ellis from Triple-A Durham and optioned left-hander Ryan Sherriff back to the Bulls. To create space for Ellis on the 40-man roster, DJ Johnson (right shoulder sprain) was transferred to the 60-day IL.
Ellis has spent the season in Triple-A, where he’s had a rough go of things — pitching to a 6.32 ERA over 15 appearances (13 starts). Ellis’ strikeout rate (22.7%) and walk rate (10.7%) are both under league average, and he’s had an issue with the long ball. The righty has coughed up 14 homers in 57 innings for an unsightly 2.21 HR/9.
The team also placed right-hander Matt Wisler (right middle finger inflammation) on the 10-day IL. To fill his spot on the active roster, the recalled right-hander Louis Head, who was optioned on Sunday to make room for infielder Mike Brosseau.
Gripping a ball didn’t feel ideal, so he’ll be shut down from throwing for a few days. However, the Rays are hoping that Wisler will only be sidelined for the minimum 10 days. Right now, we all feel pretty optimistic about that.— Kevin Cash
Good news for a change…
Right-hander Nick Anderson, who hasn’t appeared in a big-league game this season due to a right elbow injury, threw two perfect innings in his first rehab outings in Durham. Anderson threw just 19 pitches total, indicating that he isn’t quite ready to rejoin Tampa Bay’s bullpen.
I think in fairness to Nick, he’s going to have a pretty lengthy buildup. He’s still a ways away. He didn’t have a Spring Training whatsoever, so I would not be thinking much earlier than September.— Kevin Cash
J.P. Feyereisen (right shoulder discomfort) also appeared in an outing, striking out one batter in a five-pitch frame for the Florida Complex League Rays on Monday. Meanwhile, right-hander Ryan Thompson (right shoulder inflammation) struck out two in a seven-pitch inning. The Rays’ skipper mentioned that the next step is for them to move up to Durham to pitch on Thursday.