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Rays acquire Steve Cishek from Mariners for Erasmo Ramirez

The Rays continued to bolster their bullpen for

The Rays continued to bolster their bullpen for the pennant race on Friday, July 28, 2017, acquiring Cishek from the Mariners in exchange for Erasmo Ramirez. Photo Credit: AP / Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE — The Tampa Bay Rays continued to bolster their bullpen for the pennant race on Friday, acquiring reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for versatile right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.

It was a surprising deal between teams that are competing for the same thing, a wild card spot in the American League. Tampa Bay began the day with the second wild card spot in the AL, with Seattle 3 ½ games behind.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. Cishek was 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, mostly working in the seventh and eighth innings out of Seattle’s bullpen. He was a closer in the past with the Marlins.

It was the second move for a reliever in as many days by Tampa Bay. On Thursday, the Rays acquired left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox. Tampa Bay also nabbed first baseman Lucas Duda from the New York Mets on Thursday and has made a flurry of moves to bolster its roster ahead of next Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Rays also added right-hander Sergio Romo in the past week to try to solidify the bullpen.

Ramirez is making a return to the team he broke into the majors with. Ramirez has appeared in 26 games, with eight starts, for the Rays this year and was 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA. He was with the Mariners from 2012-14 before being dealt to Tampa Bay before the 2015 season.

Ramirez was primarily a starter in his first season with the Rays, but has mixed starting and relieving each of the past two seasons.

“Erasmo brings us a good combination of experience, versatility and control as we look to both be better in 2017, and in future seasons,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “We’ve added depth to our pitching staff in a variety of ways and maintained flexibility as we move forward with a player that is under club control for 2017, 2018 and 2019.”

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