tampabay.com

Rays trade McClung to Brewers

By Marc Topkin
Published July 28, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - The Seth McClung era is over.

The Devil Rays traded the talented but inconsistent reliever to Milwaukee late Friday for RHP Grant Balfour, who joins their beleaguered bullpen today.

McClung spent parts of three seasons with the Rays but had been at Triple-A Durham all year, going 1-5 with five saves and a 1.99 ERA. He will join Triple-A Nashville.

Balfour, 29, pitched parts of three seasons with the Twins then missed 2005 and 2006 after elbow and shoulder surgery. He was 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 24 games at Nashville and 0-2 with a 20.25 ERA in three game for the Brewers.

RHP Jae Kuk Ryu is likely to be sent down to make room for Balfour.

The Rays were considering calling up OF/1B Chris Richard, but he strained a hamstring during Friday's game.

RIGGANS OUT: Josh Paul was activated, and Raul Casanova was designated for assignment. But the biggest catching news was top prospect Shawn Riggans is out for the rest of the season after undergoing right elbow surgery.

Riggans, 27, had been bothered by right elbow problems for much of the season and spent only 11 days in the majors (starting three games) before going on the disabled list. Problems persisted during a rehab assignment, and Friday, Dr. Koco Eaton removed "a loose body" (a bone chip or piece of cartilage).

Riggans should be recovered by spring training but missed his first chance for extensive big-league playing time.

"It's another setback for him," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's a great kid. I know a lot of people around here really like him a lot. We just have to get him healthy and on the field for a consistent period of time. This was the year he may have had the chance to really get an opportunity."

Casanova, who hit .250 with six homers but showed some defensive concerns, impressed Maddon with his overall contributions, showing he could be a "viable major-league catcher." The Rays have 10 days to release, trade or pass him through waivers and likely want to get him back to Durham given their lack of depth with Riggans out.

Casanova, 34, said he was "a little brokenhearted" to be sent out but would return to Durham if he didn't land elsewhere in the majors.

TRADE WINDS: INF Ty Wigginton remained with the Rays despite a swirl of rumors.

The New York Post reported the Rays and Yankees "are moving closer" to a deal involving RHP Scott Proctor, but nothing appeared imminent. The Rays have talked with several teams but, contrary to reports, have not gotten to the point of discussing specific names with Boston.

The Mariners, meanwhile, have serious interest in reliever Al Reyes and, possibly, Edwin Jackson. A Mets scout also was at the Trop.

MISCELLANY: LHP Casey Fossum said all was well with his wife and newborn son and he was eager to get back to pitching. ... 1B Carlos Pena has the most homers (24) of any player with a new team this season. ... RF Delmon Young leads all major-league rookies with a .365 July average.