The Rays have selected the contract of left-hander José Lopez. (Photo Credit: Durham Bulls)

The Tampa Bay Rays have selected the contract of left-hander José Lopez ahead of Saturday’s contest. In corresponding moves, right-hander Luis Patiño was optioned to Triple-A Durham while left-hander Josh Fleming was transferred to the 60-day Injured List.

Lopez was selected by San Diego in the Rule 5 draft this past offseason but was returned to the Rays prior to Opening Day when he did not break camp with the Padres.

Lopez put together a successful 2022 campaign that saw him post a 2.43 ERA across three minor league levels (59.1 innings of work), although most of his work came primarily at Double-A Montgomery. Last season, Lopez put up a 14.4 K/9 with more walks (38) than hits (35).

He, however, hasn’t been able to replicate last season’s success at the Triple-A level this season, as he maintains a 5.19 ERA across 26 frames. It should be noted, though, that his ERA is belied by a substantially better 3.47 FIP. He boasts a solid 23.1% K% — a figure that, however, is bogged down by an unsightly 11.1% BB%.

The left-hander’s fastball velocity sits in the 94 mph range and touches 97 mph. He could experience a spike in velocity in a full-time relief role. He also leans on a good slider that could be an above-average weapon if he added a little more velocity to the offering, as well as a changeup.

Lopez will join fellow left-handers Jake Diekman, Jalen Beeks, and Colin Poche.