8/13/2014 8:55 P.M. ET
Rays recall Gomes to bolster bullpen, Figueroa optioned
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rays optioned infielder Cole Figueroa to Triple-A Durham and recalled right-hander Brandon Gomes, who was with the team for the first seven weeks of the season before being optioned on May 20.
The move gives the Rays an eight-man bullpen and leaves the bench one player short, which Rays manager Joe Maddon explained is because relievers Jake McGee, Brad Boxberger, Joel Peralta and Grant Balfour have pitched a lot of innings recently.
"Yeah, we're kind of strapped right now," Maddon said. "A lot of long games. ... Jake's been extended, Boxy has, Peralta, Balfour has. Going into tonight's game we had to protect ourselves. Sometimes people might get confused. Figgy's been doing great. There's not a thing wrong with Figgy.
"Figgy's been a very good Major League Baseball player. But this is how it has to work sometimes. You have to protect your bullpen. You have to protect your arms. So you have to play with one less player right now. Bring another relief pitcher up."
Figueroa hit .233 with six RBIs in 23 games for the Rays. In 22 games at Durham, Gomes was 0-2 with no saves and a 4.60 ERA.
"I think I've changed quite a few things mechanically [since getting optioned to Durham]," Gomes said. "I'm throwing a slider more. I'm getting comfortable now. I'm feeling good. ... I'm really simplifying. Calming down my mechanics. I think this is going to help a lot. Feeling good about it."
Gomes, who is 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA in 20 appearances with the Rays this season, does not know how long he will remain with the team.
"Always appreciative [of being in the Major Leagues]," Gomes said. "Whether it's a day, a week or a year. Whenever they call my name I'll go out and do what I do and help the team whatever way possible."
Jennings sits with sore shoulder after superb catch
ARLINGTON -- Had the Rays won Tuesday night's game against the Rangers, Desmond Jennings would have been credited with a save based on the jaw-dropping catch he made in the eighth inning to rob Leonys Martin of extra bases and a go-ahead RBI.
Adrian Beltre drew a walk from Jeff Beliveau to start the Rangers' eighth and Jim Adduci's sacrifice bunt moved Beltre to second. Brad Boxberger took over for Beliveau and struck out J.P. Arencibia for the second out. Martin then hit a ball to deep center field.
Jennings got a good jump, closing on the drive at the warning track. The Rays center fielder then hauled in the drive one step before running into the wall for the run-saving third out of the inning.
Jennings knocked his hat off in the process, but the former football player never went down.
"The ball came off his bat a little harder than I expected," Boxberger said. "And to look up and see Desmond running that ball down and actually coming down with the catch and holding onto the ball after he ran into the wall is pretty impressive."
Boxberger applauded his teammate as he made his way to the Rays' dugout.
"Yeah, you have to. He saved the game for us at that moment," Boxberger said.
Jennings' left shoulder was a little sore, so he did not start Wednesday night. However, he was available to play and Rays manager Joe Maddon expects him to start Thursday.
Rays fan dies after Tuesday night's game
ARLINGTON -- According to The Dallas Morning News, Jay Wolf, a 24-year-old Tampa man, was struck and killed by a car around midnight following Tuesday night's Rays-Rangers game. Wolf was walking along Interstate 30 near Ballpark Way.
Wolf was a Rays fan, who grew up in Tampa and lived in Austin. Rays manager Joe Maddon was visibly moved about the news prior to Wednesday night's game as he read the following statement to reporters:
"Last night after our game, a young man by the name of Jay Wolf had driven up here from Austin. He's a graduate of Plant High School. Apparently right here near the ballpark after the game, he was walking and got struck by a car and was killed. It was just an awful tragedy.
"We just want to send out our sincere condolences. My goodness, it has to be awful being a parent or a grandparent. It's just a really tough day. So our thoughts and prayers go back to the people in Tampa, to the Wolf family. It's an awful moment. I wanted to acknowledge that today."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.