By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays continued to bolster their bullpen for the pennant race on Friday, acquiring reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for versatile right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
It was a surprising deal between teams that are competing for the same thing, a wild card spot in the American League. Tampa Bay began the day with the second wild card spot in the AL, with Seattle 3 ½ games behind.
Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. Cishek was 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, mostly working in the seventh and eighth innings out of Seattle’s bullpen. He was a closer in the past with the Marlins.
It was the second move for a reliever in as many days by Tampa Bay. On Thursday, the Rays acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox. Tampa Bay also nabbed first baseman Lucas Duda from the New York Mets on Thursday and has made a flurry of moves to bolster its roster ahead of next Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
The Rays also added right-hander Sergio Romo in the past week to try to solidify the bullpen.
Ramirez is making a return to the team he broke into the majors with. Ramirez has appeared in 26 games, with eight starts, for the Rays this year and was 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA. He was with the Mariners from 2012-14 before being dealt to Tampa Bay before the 2015 season.
Ramirez was primarily a starter in his first season with the Rays, but has mixed starting and relieving each of the past two seasons.
“Erasmo brings us a good combination of experience, versatility and control as we look to both be better in 2017, and in future seasons,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “We’ve added depth to our pitching staff in a variety of ways and maintained flexibility as we move forward with a player that is under club control for 2017, 2018 and 2019.”
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