Rays notes: Hellickson OK with move to Double-A Montgomery

With the All-Star break looming, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was optioned to Double-A Montgomery on Sunday and plans to start Monday as part of one of two upcoming appearances in the minor leagues. He said he also will start for High-A Charlotte next Sunday.

Jeremy Hellickson will get some additional regular work by being sent to Double-A minors.

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With the All-Star break looming, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson was optioned to Double-A Montgomery on Sunday and plans to start Monday as part of one of two upcoming appearances in the minor leagues. He said he also will start for High-A Charlotte next Sunday.

In addition Sunday, the Rays announced that reliever Jake McGee had been activated from the paternity list after his wife, Morgan, gave birth to their first kid, daughter Rowen Beth, last Thursday.

Hellickson's move to Double-A gives him a chance to receive more regular work after he made his season debut last Tuesday in the Rays' victory over the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field. He said he plans to rejoin Tampa Bay at the start of its first post-All-Star break homestand, a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox from July 25-27.

"I wasn't opposed to it," Hellickson said. "It's not too big of a hassle. I definitely need to keep getting work in, so I was all for it."

Hellickson has made six starts in the minors this season, all part of rehab in his recovery from January arthroscopic surgery on his throwing elbow.  He went 1-4 with a 6.23 ERA, 18 strikeouts and six walks in five starts with Triple-A Durham and one with Charlotte.

He was solid in his major-league debut this season, when he allowed one run and six hits with two strikeouts and one walk in 4 1/3 innings.

"I was happy," Hellickson said.

"It was probably my best start, counting the rehab starts -- just throwing strikes and just around the plate a lot more than I was (in rehab starts). So I was pleased with it."

FORMER RAYS CLOSER RODNEY TO ALL-STAR GAME

Seattle Mariners closer Fernando Rodney, a member of the Rays in the 2012 and '13 seasons, was named Tampa Bay left-hander David Price's replacement in the All-Star Game late Saturday.

Price missed his scheduled start Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays because of an illness. He started Sunday's series finale and chose not to pitch at Target Field on just one day's rest, though he can still participate in All-Star Game events.

Rodney, now a two-time All-Star, has a 1.98 ERA with an American League-leading 27 saves this season.

"He gave me a break," Rodney told MLB.com of Price. "I love him."

JENNINGS UPDATE

Rays centerfielder Desmond Jennings was out of the lineup Sunday, but he said he'd be healthy enough to return Friday when Tampa Bay opens the season's second half against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. He sustained a bruised left knee when batting Friday.

"I'm straight," Jennings said.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.