Rays make first round of callups
Perez, Ryu brought up; reliever Salas optioned to Double-A
TAMPA -- In a scenario to create maximum roster flexibility, the Rays recalled outfielder Fernando Perez from Triple-A Durham on Sunday night to make him eligible for postseason play. They also optioned Juan Salas to Double-A Montgomery and recalled right-handed pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu from Durham and placed him on the 15-day disabled list (right elbow surgery).
With expanded rosters starting Sept. 1, the Rays are also expected to recall Durham backstop John Jaso and activate closer Troy Percival from the 15-day disabled list (right knee cartilage damage). Since Montgomery's season ends on Monday, Salas -- whose spot will be assumed by Perez -- is allowed to rejoin the Rays for Tuesday's series opener vs. the Yankees.
Perez is batting .288 with 43 stolen bases and 86 runs scored for the Bulls, and according to executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, he was an enticing choice based on speed and defense.
"We felt like he's got a unique skill set, that if we wanted to go that way, it would help diversify us a little bit," Friedman said. "Obviously with injuries and everything else, we still have the ability to replace different guys. And with two guys on the DL in [Chad] Orvella and Ryu, that will give us, in our opinion, all the roster flexibility we would need if we wanted to add anyone else."
Starting Sept. 1, the Rays will be able to add anyone who is in the organization as of Aug. 31 to their postseason roster to replace an injured player. So, essentially Orvella (right shoulder surgery) and Ryu give the club two free passes to bring up players who are currently not on the active roster, such as top pitching prospect David Price.
With speedy left fielder Carl Crawford likely out for the rest of the season, Friedman said the decision to recall Perez had nothing to do with center fielder B.J. Upton being struck in the ankle with a pitch during Sunday's game. He also said the decision to recall Jaso over veteran backstop Mike DiFelice was due to the fact that Jaso was already on the 40-man roster and the Rays aren't expecting to use their third catcher for anything more than a pinch runner or bat off the bench.
Jaso -- who split time with both Montgomery and Durham -- is batting .273 with 12 home runs and 67 RBIs. Following the move, DiFelice was granted his release on Sunday night.
Although Friedman said the rest of the team's callups will likely come following Durham's season, that could change depending on what happens at the big league level.
"If we need somebody we will reach down even before they are done," Friedman said, citing possible scenarios like injuries or if the bullpen becomes particularly taxed.
The Bulls were scheduled to start a best-of-five playoff series on Wednesday.
"It's going to be fluid," Friedman said of the callups. "The way I look at it right now it's going to be two waves. But it's subject to change."
The addition of Percival and expected recall of Salas will give the Rays 13 pitchers and should help bolster the bullpen in the season's final month. Percival has been sidelined since Aug. 15 and is 2-0 with 27 saves and a 3.69 ERA this season.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.