Rays recall Gomes to bolster bullpen, Figueroa optioned

Rays recall Gomes to bolster bullpen, Figueroa optioned

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."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.