Rays send Jake McGee to minors, call up Alex Cobb for spot start Sunday

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays have sent Jake McGee to Triple-A Durham and called up Alex Cobb to start Sunday’s series finale against the Angels.

The Rays need a spot starter for Sunday because of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Twins.

McGee, 24, made the Rays out of spring training, but posted a 5.84 ERA and 2/3 K/BB ratio over his first seven innings. While he’s still considered the closer of the future in many circles, Rays manager Joe Maddon told J.B. Long of Bright House Sports Network that he wants the young left-hander to get more work in the minor leagues.

Cobb, a 23-year-old right-hander, has a 3.10 ERA over parts of six seasons in the minors, averaging 7.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. The former 2006 fourth-round pick has a 2.05 ERA and 29/6 K/BB ratio over his first four starts with Triple-A Durham this season. He was ranked as the organization’s No. 16 prospect by Baseball America over the winter.

His first taste of the big leagues is expected to be a brief one, as Cobb will be sent back to the minors following Sunday’s outing. Topkin writes that right-hander Brandon Gomes, who was acquired from the Padres in the Jason Bartlett trade, is a “strong candidate” to join the Rays’ bullpen.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.

Report: Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman initiate Marlins’ staff cuts

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A report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reveals that prospective Marlins’ owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman have already initiated several key firings within the organization. While the sale of the team is still pending final approval next month, Jeter reportedly pushed club president David Samson to remove four special assistants this week: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine.

Hall of Fame infielder Dawson, outfielder Perez and Marlins’ legend Conine served as special assistants to the president. McKeon, who served as team manager from 2003-2005 (and briefly in 2011), was terminated from a 12-year post as special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria.

The move didn’t come as a big surprise to Dawson and McKeon, Jackson and Spencer noted. It’s part and parcel of dealing with new ownership. But it was disappointing news nonetheless, especially as the long-tenured McKeon might lose an opportunity to return next September to manage one game and cement his status as the oldest manager in MLB history.

Should the Marlins’ sale go through in October as expected, this figures to be the beginning of several cuts. Per Jackson and Spencer:

Jeter also is expected to fire some people on the baseball side of the operation, though it’s believed president/baseball operations Michael Hill will be retained, at least indefinitely if not permanently.

Any replacements for those already released from the team have yet to be announced.