The Rays announced that right-handers Shawn Armstrong and David Hess have each cleared outright waivers (via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). Both pitchers had the right to elect free agency, but they’ve each chosen to accept an assignment to Triple-A Durham. Tampa Bay had designated Armstrong and Hess for assignment last week.
Armstrong began the season with the Orioles, where he struggled badly and wound up designated for assignment and passed through outright waivers. He performed well with Baltimore’s top minor league affiliate, and the Rays acquired him for cash on the day of the trade deadline and selected him to the big league club a few weeks later.
The 30-year-old Armstrong worked sixteen innings over eleven frames of relief with Tampa Bay, pitching to a 4.50 ERA with rather bizarre peripherals. Armstrong’s strikeout and walk rates with the Rays have been stellar, as he’s punched out 33.8% of opponents while issuing free passes at only a 7.7% clip. But Armstrong was tagged for five home runs in that limited body of work, with an extremely low opponents’ batting average on balls in play and high rate of stranding baserunners keeping his ERA at a respectable level.
Hess has been up and down with a few teams this season. Originally signed by the Rays to a minor league deal, he was traded to the Marlins and made eighteen appearances with Miami. After being designated for assignment, he returned to Tampa Bay on another minors pact, and he’s already been selected and outrighted twice more since landing back in the Rays’ organization.
Between the two clubs, Hess has logged twenty innings with a 9.90 ERA. Like Armstrong, Hess has been plagued by the long ball, as he’s served up ten homers in his MLB action this season. Despite the nightmarish results at the big league level, Hess has been quite impressive with Durham. Over 35 2/3 frames with the Bulls, he has a 3.28 ERA with better than average strikeout and walk numbers (27.2% and 5.4%, respectively).