Joe Smith of the St. Pete Times is reporting that the Rays have released lefty reliever Kurt Birkins. The move was made to open a spot on the 40-man roster in preparation for the September roster expansion.
Birkins made six appearances for the Rays earlier in the year and spent parts of the last two seasons with the Orioles, including two starts in '07. He posted a 7.52 ERA in 40.2 innings with 29 strikeouts and 28 walks for Durham.
Given the demand for lefty relievers, look for Birkins to land a job in a contender's bullpen for the final month of the season.
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