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.

Phillies place Jay Bruce on the IL, recall Nick Williams

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The Phillies have placed outfielder Jay Bruce on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain. He sustained the injury during a plate appearance in the third inning of last night’s game against the Dodgers. The team expects Bruce to miss at least three weeks.

With Bruce gone so too goes his power — he has 24 homers on the year — and they will try to replace some of it with Nick Williams. Williams has struggled at the big league level but is hitting .345/.403/.628 with six home runs in 28 games at Triple-A this year.