8/16/2014 8:11 P.M. ET
Belnome recalled, immediately placed in lineup
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays recalled designated hitter Vince Belnome from Triple-A Durham on Saturday to take the place of reliever Brandon Gomes, who was optioned to the Bulls after Friday's 5-0 series-opening win against the Yankees.
Belnome started at DH for Tampa Bay on Saturday and batting seventh. He went 0-for-2 with a walk in the Rays' 3-2 loss to the Yanks.
"We're gonna put Belnome out there today," Rays manager Joe Maddon said before the game. "The bullpen's pretty much back in order, so we can get it back to the seven relief pitchers. Vince had been doing a nice job in Triple-A. Their pitcher, [Yankees starter Shane] Greene, tends to be a little better against righties than lefties, so we'll see how it plays out."
The Rays had called up Gomes on Wednesday because the team needed extra bullpen depth after Tuesday's 14-inning loss to the Rangers.
Belnome knew he might be getting the call when he was pulled from Durham's game Friday night in the ninth inning. Some of his teammates started checking Twitter and saw the Rays had optioned Gomes.
"It was a very long game, and in the bottom of the ninth, [Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo] came over to me right before we were getting ready to hit and just told me, 'We've got to take you out,'" Belnome said. "They said, 'We don't know what the move's gonna be, whether you're going up or not, but we'll just take you out of the game.'"
Belnome has hit .241 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs over 106 games in the Minors this season.
The 26-year-old Belnome had played one game for the Rays, making his Major League debut on July 3 against the Tigers and going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He was sent down at the end of the Detroit series.
Belnome said it's "awesome" to be back, especially with the Rays playing as well as they have been.
"This is the ultimate goal, to be up here and help this team win and hopefully make a playoff run," Belnome said.
• Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) did some baserunning drills at Tropicana Field before Saturday's game against the Yankees. Maddon said he still has no return date in mind for Hanigan, simply reiterating what he said on Friday, that Hanigan continues to feel better.
• Starting pitcher Drew Smyly made his home debut for the Rays on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his two starts with the team, both on the road, since being acquired from the Tigers at the Trade Deadline in the deal that sent David Price to Detroit.
The 25-year-old Smyly set a career high in pitches and innings in his last start, throwing 116 in 7 2/3 shutout frames against the Rangers, prompting Maddon to say the Rays would monitor him closely on Saturday.
• Saturday's game at The Trop was sold out, the second sellout of the season for the Rays. The other was Opening Day against the Blue Jays on March 31.
• After Friday night's win, the Rays made it back to .500, at 61-61, for the first time since April 22. They became just the fourth team in Major League history to return to .500 after being 18 games under, which they were on June 10, when they were 24-42.
Tampa Bay joined the 1899 Louisville Colonels (22 games under .500), 2006 Marlins (20 under) and 2004 Devil Rays (18 under). All three of those teams ended the season below .500.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.