Rays call up three as rosters expand

The Tampa Bay Rays have recalled catcher Curt Casali and right-handed pitcher Ryan Garton and selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Eddie Gamboa, all from Triple-A Durham. Today (September 1) is the day when active major league rosters expand from 25 to as many as 40 players through the conclusion of the season.

Casali, 27, was with the Rays major league club from Opening Day and batted .168 (31-for-185) with seven home runs and 20 RBI until he was optioned to Durham on August 5. He still leads the Rays with 56 starts at catcher this season, and caught 10 of 32 attempted base stealers (31.2 pct.), up from 24.0 pct. in 2015. At Durham, Casali batted .254 (16-for-63) with two home runs, 15 RBI, 15 walks and a .407 on-base percentage.

When Gamboa, 31, plays his first game, he will be the second-oldest player ever to make his major league debut for the Rays, behind 35-year-old left-handed pitcher Jim Morris in 1999. Gamboa spent two days on the Baltimore Orioles active roster in April 2015 but did not appear in a game. He will become the second knuckleball pitcher in Rays history, following right-handed pitcher Dennis Springer (1998). He became a knuckleball pitcher in 2013, and since then has been in contact with Phil Niekro, Steven Wright and R.A. Dickey while making the transition. The Rays signed Gamboa as a minor league free agent on January 19, and this season for Durham he went 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA (94-IP, 28-ER) in 27 games, 12 starts. He totaled 89 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .196 batting average. (66-for-331). He will wear No. 59.

Garton, 26, begins his fourth stint with the Rays this season. In his three previous stints, he is 1-0 with one save and a 4.73 ERA (26.2-IP, 14-ER) in 23 appearances. He was the opposing pitcher in Alex Rodriguez's final at-bat on August 12 at Yankee Stadium, inducing a groundout to shortstop. He is the second player in Rays history born in Clearwater, along with right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb, and graduated from J. W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey. In 22 relief appearances for Durham this season, Garton is 4-0 with two saves and a 3.09 ERA (32-IP, 11-ER).