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Rays option Zobrist to help bullpen

Rays option Zobrist to help bullpen

ST. PETERSBURG -- Following Thursday night's 5-1 loss to the White Sox, the Rays optioned Ben Zobrist to Triple-A Durham and recalled right-hander Grant Balfour.

Prior to the game, manager Joe Maddon hinted at a roster move to obtain an additional arm, as veteran closer Troy Percival was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

Balfour has been virtually unhittable in Durham, going 1-0 with a 0.38 ERA and collecting eight saves in 15 appearances. Opponents at Triple-A were hitting just .067 off Balfour, and the righty allowed just one run in 23 2/3 innings. With the move, Balfour is expected to slide into the Rays bullpen as the 12th pitcher on the staff.

Zobrist hit .267 in seven games for the Rays, making starts at shortstop, second base and right field. The 27-year-old utility infielder missed most of Spring Training with a left thumb fracture and was activated on May 13. Zobrist acknowledged that the lack of playing time was partly due to his injury and was optimistic about the situation.

"[I'm] taking it in stride -- just going to go down there and keep getting better every day and be prepared to help the team again," Zobrist said.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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