9:07 am: The Rays are selecting the contract of reliever Hunter Strickland, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link) and Adam Berry of MLB.com (via Twitter). Catcher Joseph Odom has been designated for assignment to open 40-man roster space. Additionally, outfielder Brett Phillips has been activated from the injured list, while right-hander Pete Fairbanks is headed to the 10-day IL with a right rotator cuff strain.
Strickland had a productive run with the Giants from 2015-18 but has fallen on hard times over the past couple seasons. He managed just a 5.55 ERA/5.01 SIERA between the Mariners and Nationals in 2019, then tallied just 3.1 innings of four-run ball with the Mets last year before being sent to the alternate training site. The hard-throwing righty signed a minors contract with Tampa Bay in February and is now in line to make his team debut.
Fairbanks’ loss is another blow to a Rays’ bullpen already without Nick Anderson and Chaz Roe for extended periods of time. It isn’t clear how long Fairbanks will be on the shelf, but a lengthy absence would deprive Tampa Bay of one of their best relievers. The 27-year-old tossed 26.2 innings of 2.70 ERA/3.48 SIERA ball in the regular season in 2020, earning manager Kevin Cash’s trust in the late innings for the postseason.
Phillips returns after opening the year on the IL due to a hamstring strain. He could see some playing time as the fourth outfielder while Kevin Kiermaier is on the shelf with a quad strain. Odom was selected to the Rays’ roster last week and went hitless in a pair of plate appearances.