Rays cut Abbott, call up prospect Brazelton

Updated: June 3, 2004, 10:27 PM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays shook up their struggling pitching staff on Thursday, releasing veteran starter Paul Abbott and calling up prized prospect Dewon Brazelton.

They also designated right-hander Jason Standridge for assignment and recalled right-hander Jesus Colome, who will pitch in middle relief.

Brazelton, a right-hander, replaces Abbott in the rotation and will start Sunday at Baltimore.

"With Paul, it was difficult letting him go," manager Lou Piniella said before Thursday's game at Minnesota. "We're going younger, obviously. This will give Paul another chance to catch on with another team, and hopefully he will."

Abbott, 36, was 2-5 with a 6.70 ERA -- giving up 30 runs in 21 2-3 innings. He's been in pro baseball since 1985, making his major league debut in 1990 with the Twins and pitching for Piniella in Seattle from 1998-2002. He went 17-4 for the Mariners in 1999.

Brazelton, who turns 24 on June 16, was taken by Tampa Bay with the No. 3 pick in the 2001 amateur draft out of Middle Tennessee State. He was expected to make the Devil Rays' rotation out of spring training last season, but injuries slowed him and he went just 1-6 with a 6.89 ERA in 10 starts.

In 10 starts for Durham this year, Brazelton was 4-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 49 2-3 innings. He didn't give up a home run.

The hard-throwing Colome tied for the club lead in appearances last season with 54.

Standridge, a first-round draft choice in 1997, struggled in three appearances (one start) this year -- giving up 10 runs and five homers in 10 innings. He had shoulder surgery after last season. Tampa Bay has 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on him.

"For his sake, I hope he gets claimed so he can stay in the big leagues," Piniella said. "But if not, we'd love to have him in Triple-A."

During Thursday's game, the Devil Rays announced they claimed utility man Jose Bautista off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. He will join the team Friday, and a corresponding move will be announced then.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press