Relief pitcher Heath Bell was cut by the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday in a costly move for a normally thrifty team.
Needing a fresh long man in the bullpen, the Rays recalled right-hander Nathan Karns from Triple-A Durham and designated Bell for assignment before a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees.
"We were kind of strapped in this moment, and we had to do something about it," manager Joe Maddon said.
A three-time All-Star, Bell was 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in 13 appearances for the Rays after they acquired him from Arizona in December as part of a three-team trade that included Cincinnati. Tampa Bay still owes the right-hander $7,278,689 this season, though the Rays are receiving $3.5 million from the Diamondbacks as part of the deal to offset a portion of his $9 million salary.
That $3.5 million was money the Miami Marlins agreed to pay Arizona as part of a three-team trade that involved Bell in October 2012.
Karns was scheduled to start Sunday for Durham, so he provided insurance in case the Rays needed an extended outing from a reliever in the series finale against the Yankees. He caught a 9 a.m. flight for his first trip to New York City but did not get in the game.
"Here I am, ready to go," Karns said in the clubhouse about 2 hours before the first pitch.