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Friday, Apr 20, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Rays designate Bell for assignment, recall Karns from Durham

NEW YORK – The Tampa Bay Rays designated right-handed reliever Heath Bell for assignment Sunday morning and recalled right-hander Nathan Karns from Triple A Durham.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said the move was made to get a fresh arm to the bullpen to guard against a short outing by Sunday’s starter Erik Bedard and the possibility of extra innings against the New York Yankees.

The Rays received Bell in the offseason from Arizona in a three-team trade that also brought catcher Ryan Hanigan to Tampa Bay. The Rays picked up $5.5 million of Bell’s $9 million salary, so the Rays are eating a lot of money with the move.

The Rays could have DFA’d another player, such as right-hander Josh Lueke, who is also struggling. But Maddon said the organization still sees upside in the younger Lueke.

“You got to be patient with young pitchers,” Maddon said.

The 36-year-old Bell was 1-1 with a team-high 7.27 ERA in 17 1/3 innings over 13 games. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings Friday and earned the win as the Rays beat the Yankees 10-5 in 14 innings. Bell pitched the eighth inning in Saturday’s 9-3 loss and allowed three runs on three hits.

Maddon said the move had nothing to do with Saturday’s outing. They needed to add a fresh arm in the bullpen and Bell was the odd-man out.

Maddon also said the immediate future of Karns is not clear beyond Sunday’s game.

With right-hander Jake Odorizzi and Bedard struggling, it would seem as if Karns could move into the rotation.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” Maddon said.

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