BOSTON – The Tampa Bay Rays acquired injured reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox on Monday in an attempt to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run in the tough AL East.
The Sox will receive players to be named or cash for Crain, a 32-year-old right-hander who is 2-3 with a 1.15 ERA in 38 appearances. He was placed on the disabled list July 3 with a right shoulder strain.
"Jesse has been one of the top relievers in the American League, not only this season but also throughout his entire tenure with the White Sox," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "We cannot say enough about what Jesse has meant to our bullpen, and the positive impact he's had on our young relievers. We certainly think he has the ability to influence this year's pennant race very positively for the Rays."
The deal was announced before the Rays faced the division-leading Red Sox in Boston on Monday night. Tampa Bay began the day one-half game behind Boston in the AL East. Crain was expected to fly straight to Tampa Bay, where the Rays open a two-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Hahn said Crain's injury affected the market for him. The team considered waiting until he is healthy, which could be in a few weeks, and trying to get him through waivers.
"The very, very high likelihood would be that he would be claimed off waivers," Hahn said. "So that obviously was not a very appealing alternative when compared with negotiating a deal now prior to the deadline, even with the complexities involved in trying to figure out what's fair compensation for a guy currently on the DL. If he had been healthy for the month of July and healthy right now, it probably would have been a very different dynamic."
The Sox, who are in last place in the AL Central, have lost 10 of 13 after Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Indians.
"Obviously, we haven't played up to expectations here," Crain told reporters in Cleveland. "So to get a chance to get healthy and pitch for a team that's [fighting for first place], there's nothing more I could ask for."
Crain made the All-Star team for the first time this year but did not pitch because he was injured. He said Monday he wasn't surprised he was traded, but he is focused on trying to get healthy and help his new club.
"I had an idea but you don't want to go all-in until you know for sure," he said. "Now that it is, I'm excited."
Crain is 45-30 with a 3.05 ERA in a 10-year career, the first seven with the Minnesota Twins. He signed with the White Sox as a free agent after the 2010 season.
"Great teammates, great city, the organization has been amazing to me," Crain said. "It's a time I'll never forget. I'm going to miss these guys."
To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Rays transferred pitcher Brandon Gomes (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list.
• AP sports writer Jay Cohen in Chicago and AP freelancer Steve Herrick in Cleveland contributed to the story.