Rays reportedly near Minors deal with righty Hunter

Rays reportedly near Minors deal with righty Hunter

The Rays are reportedly nearing a Minor League deal with right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays haven't commented on the report.

A nine-year journeyman who spent the bulk of his career in Baltimore, Hunter, 30, will likely compete with what's developing into a crowded corps of relievers that already houses plenty of righties. Xavier Cedeno is currently the only primary lefty in the Rays' bullpen.

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The Rays have built a 'pen that is back-end strong -- with closer Alex Colome and setup man Brad Boxberger -- after finishing last season with a 4.09 ERA, fifth-worst in the American League.

Hunter split last season with Baltimore and Cleveland, where he opened the year on the disabled list while recovering from a right core muscle surgery. He also was shelved mid-summer after falling in his home during the All-Star break. Before Hunter returned from the DL, he was released on Aug. 25 and then signed with the Baltimore three days later, where he finished the season.

Between both stints in 2016, Hunter was 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA. Overall, he is 48-35 with a 4.26 ERA, and as a reliever, he's 19-12 with a 3.27 ERA and 16 saves.

The Rays are also reportedly interested in former Giants All-Star closer Brian Wilson, per the Times. According to the report, Wilson, 34, is attempting a comeback as a knuckleballer, which is of particular interest to the Rays, who have established a program for such pitchers. Their interest in Wilson is solely to a Minor League contract without an invite to big league camp.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.