Notes: Lefty Switzer gets look in 'pen
Rookie earns chance as staff continues to struggle
DETROIT -- Jon Switzer was out to dinner with some of his teammates at Triple-A Durham as they sat around, wondering who would get the call to replace Casey Fossum on the Devil Rays roster.Fossum, who was designated for assignment after Tuesday's game, was the only left-hander in the Rays' bullpen. Even still, the lefty reliever Switzer wasn't sure it was going to be him who got the call. "I really didn't expect it -- it caught me off guard this time," said Switzer, who also got a similar call earlier this season for a brief stint in July. "A lot of the guys down there were talking and a lot of them expected a position player. I got a nice phone call." The Rays are thin on the bench with only three position players, but manager Joe Maddon felt the team needed at least one lefty in the bullpen to prevent other teams from using a left-handed heavy lineup without the fear of unfavorable matchups. In addition, Switzer is a pitcher who could be used over several innings -- not merely a one-batter specialist. "He's gone as many as three innings pitched in an outing this year, so I would not be afraid to go up to two innings probably; depends on the situation," Maddon said. "I'd prefer he not just be a one batter [specialist], but he could be in the right situation. If it's left-right-left, he might have to pitch to that tough righty to get to the lefty." Switzer had a 0.82 ERA in 23 games this season at Durham, but didn't see much action in his stint with the Rays in July. He appeared in just three games despite remaining with the team for 15 days while Al Reyes was on the disabled list. "I'm hoping to pitch as often as I can," Switzer said. "He will," Maddon said. "He'll get more of a chance this time." Switzer got the call after Durham's game on Tuesday night in Columbus as he ate dinner with teammates Chad Orvella and Jeremy Owens, and was available to pitch on Wednesday. Bonds part II? Rays center fielder B.J. Upton reminds Maddon of Barry Bonds, who broke the all-time Major League home run record with is 756th late on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Upton is thin like Bonds when he first started his career. "I did happen to see a recent video and [Bonds looked] a lot like B.J. A lot," Maddon said. Bonds began his career as a skinny outfielder much in the mold of Upton, but has since grown to 240 pounds. Maddon thinks Upton will eventually fill out his own wiry frame, just maybe not to the extent of Bonds. "A lot of guys, when they start, are going to be like that, and all of a sudden, you see their [growth] maturity," Maddon said. "I'd like [Upton] to maintain his speed and everything else he has, but I mean power-wise, it's not like he's going have much more power than he already does, but he's gonna mature and get bigger and stronger." Upton has 21 homers through his first 175 career games. Bonds had 25 homers over 175 games to begin his career. Reading material: And what was Maddon doing as Bonds hit the historic homer late Tuesday night? Reading, of course. He first saw that Bonds had broken the record when he picked up a local newspaper. Maddon also managed to miss the around-the-clock television coverage. "I don't watch ESPN, I got some good books," Maddon said. "I'm reading a new book right now by Allen Folsom and I just finished off one from Richard North Patterson. I'd rather read my book." Corcoran to Double-A: Tim Corcoran was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list after he was placed on the DL with a right elbow strain, retroactive to June 9. He was optioned to Double-A Montgomery. Jay Witasick threw a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Class A Vero Beach. He is also rehabbing a right elbow strain.
Minor League report: Evan Longoria hit his first homer since a promotion to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday night. Longoria, the Devil Rays' first-round selection in the 2006 First Year Player Draft, is 5-for-16 since his promotion to Triple-A. ... Doug Waechter earned his first win at Class A Vero Beach with six innings of one-hit ball on Tuesday. ... Catcher Mike McCormick (.310 average, 11 doubles and 20 RBIs in July with Class A Hudson Valley) and pitcher Lewis Rollins (4-1, 1.85 ERA, 31 strikeouts in July Class A Columbus) were named the top player and pitcher, respectively, in the organization for July.Up next: The final game of the season between the Rays and Tigers will arguably feature each team's best pitcher. Scott Kazmir (8-7, 3.72) will start against Jeremy Bonderman (10-4, 4.50) on Thursday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET at Comerica Park.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.