Rays may promote Jeremy Hellickson as a reliever

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Rays fans have been pushing for the club to promote top pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson since early May, but fifth starter Wade Davis, 24, has looked better as of late and it’s been hard for manager Joe Maddon and Co. to find a fit for the highly touted 23-year-old.  That could change in a few weeks.

According to Bill Chastain of MLB.com, the Rays may call up Hellickson and use him as a reliever as they push for a spot in the playoffs later this season.

“Out of the bullpen, that’s a possibility, and I would not be opposed to
that at all,” Maddon said Saturday.  “But eventually he’s going to be one of the starters, there
is no doubt. To get a taste, I think he could do it, and it would serve
him well, and us.”

David Price took a similar path to the majors, as did Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.  And Hellickson may be just as talented as those current Cy Young contenders.  Through 19 starts this season at Triple-A Durham, he has posted an 11-3 record, a 2.56 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.  He also has a 110/31 K/BB ratio in 109 innings.

Indians release Mike Napoli

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The Cleveland Indians have released Mike Napoli.

This is not terribly surprising as he was seen as a depth move to begin with. Injury insurance for Yonder Alonso at first base and Edwin Encarnacion at DH, neither of whom are injured at the moment. Napoli was on a minor league contract and the Indians made it clear that, if he can’t find a major league job elsewhere, he’s welcome to come back and cool his heels in Columbus in the event he’s needed later.

Which may be what happens if he wants to keep playing because, after a season in which he hit .193/.285/.428, and a spring in which he hit .218/.310/.431, there aren’t likely to be a ton of takers.