Rays designate Heath Bell for assignment

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From Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times comes word that the Rays have designated right-handed reliever Heath Bell for assignment, clearing a 40-man roster spot for the promotion of Nate Karns.

Bell had surrendered 24 hits, eight walks, and 16 runs — 14 earned — in 17 1/3 innings this year for the Rays, who got him from the Diamondbacks this past winter as part of a three-team trade.

The 36-year-old owns a rough 4.91 ERA and 1.507 WHIP in 146 2/3 innings since signing a three-year, $27 million free agent contract with the Marlins prior to the 2012 campaign. That deal ends this fall.

Bell will either be traded, released, or outrighted to Triple-A Durham within the next 10 days.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.