Roberto Hernandez is first free agent pitcher to start for Rays since 2005

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When Roberto Hernandez takes the mound for the Rays this afternoon against the Orioles he’ll snap an incredible steak by becoming the first free agent pitcher to start for Tampa Bay since 2005.

According to the Rays’ official Twitter feed that’s a stretch of 1,207 consecutive games in which they did not use a starting pitcher who was acquired via major-league free agent contract. There were some minor-league signings used during that span, but the last pitcher signed to a big-league deal who started for the Rays was Hideo Nomo on July 25, 2005.

Hernandez signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Rays in December after barely pitching last season due to false identity charges (he used to be known as Fausto Carmona) and then an ankle injury.

By the way, check out the boxscore from that July 25, 2005 game. It’s fun.

Report: Astros, Ryan Pressly close to agreement on two-year, $17.5 million extension

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.

Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.

Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.