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Rays send Jeremy Hellickson back to the minors

Aug 21, 2010, 10:44 AM EDT

The Rays sent Jeremy Hellickson to Single-A Charlotte following last night’s loss to the Athletics, presumably as punishment for him finally giving up more than two runs.

(Sarcasm, I hope you know.)

Hellickson wasn’t quite as sharp, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings as part of a no-decision. The rookie right-hander actually left the game in position for the win, however the bullpen blew it in the bottom of the eighth. He scattered seven hits — including a solo homer by Jack Cust — while striking out seven and walking just one.

Hellickson tallied a very impressive 2.05 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over his first four major league starts, including a stingy 25/4 K/BB ratio in 26 1/3 innings. He has a strong case to stay in the rotation, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told Bill Chastain of that the move was expected with Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann on schedule to be activated from the disabled list next week.

“This is something that we talked about in advance. He’s been very much
aware of it. Again, from the outside looking in it might seem awkward or
strange. But from the inside looking out it’s very common sensical. For
us, we had planned on doing it this way. There’s nothing he could have
done to change that. Outside of like somebody being hurt possibly. But
for now we’re getting the other two guys back.” 

Hellickson will pitch out of the bullpen during his time with Single-A Charlotte in anticipation of rejoining the major league team on September 1.

  1. APBA Guy - Aug 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Hellickson was underwhelming against the A’s, touching 91 rarely (the stadium gun showed 93, but it’s 2 mph fast) and overusing his curve to the extent that A’s hitters were sitting on it-that was the pitch Cust hit out.
    A second obvious problem was his composure with men on base. The A’s pulled a double steal off him as he did not look at the runners while taking an average of 28 seconds between pitches. This had his defense almost catatonic behind him, a large cause of Carlos’ Pena’s uncharacteristic drop of a Longoria throw.
    I am a bit surprised that the Rays didn’t find room for him in the bullpen, given how atrocious their work has been to this point leading up to Soria. Throwing strikes consistently seems almost alien to them. And at least Hellickson does that very well.

  2. bobr - Aug 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I assume you mean Soriano, not Soria who is on the Royals. As for the bullpen, while it has been a bit unreliable the past week or so, it has been a strength all year, and particularly Benoit who has been outstanding.
    As for finding room in the bullpen, that is why he is going to Charlotte to get some experience in that job which he will almost certainly have after Sept. 1. The Rays don’t just act, they plan and carry out their plans, and this has been part of it for a while.
    As for your analysis of Hellickson, you could not be more wrong. He is a tremendously composed pitcher both in the minors and in his major league starts. He throws hard enough, but is more impressive for his command and variety of a terrific repertoire of pitches, especially his change-up. I did not see this game, so it is possible he was unimpressive this time out, but do not judge based on one case.

  3. Old Gator - Aug 21, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    A 2 mph variance in his laser tracker is all a Hillsborough County trooper needs to pull you over and, when you tell him you were right at the limit, elicit from him the comment “what we have heah is a faylyah to co-myoonicate.” The kid is safer in single-A.

  4. Pier588 - Aug 22, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    NOT “well said”, Guy. You obviously are clueless when it comes to the goings on with the Rays and the players on the team. The A’s pulled another double steal against Price last night making your lame assessment even lamer.
    If you want to talk about the Rays in the future – at least have a clue as to what’s going on with the team. You come across as an A’s fan who has seen them once this season. This move was planned and if you follow the team and “Maddening Joe’s” logic, it makes the most sense over your suggestion to blow up the bullpen a week before the rosters expand.

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