Sunday, April 05, 2009

Trade official: Hammel to Rockies

Jason Hammel (left) has been traded to the Rockies and Jeff Niemann (right) will be Tampa Bay's No. 5 starter. There hasn't been an official announcement yet of what the Rays receive in the trade.

"I had a great run here and appreciate everything the Rays did for me," Hammel said. "Things like this happen, and I'm definitely excited to go to the Rockies. I'll have new colors, but it's the same Jason."

Niemann has an early-evening flight from Tampa to Boston, where the Rays open the season Monday. Hammel will go to Arizona, where the Rockies start their season.

The two former Biscuits have competed for Tampa Bay's fifth starter's role all spring. Both are out of options and couldn't be sent to the minor leagues without the Rays risking losing them.

"It's good that it's over with," Niemann said. "I have something I can hold onto now."

The Rockies host the Rays in a three-game series in June. Since both have reached the World Series in the last two years, maybe there will be a matchup there.

"I would love that," Hammel said. "Niemann is going to throw the ball well here. I'm going to throw the ball well there. We'll see how it all plays out."

Said Niemann: "That would be a fitting end to the story."

UPDATE: The St. Pete Times has confirmed that Aneury Rodriguez is coming to the Rays. He was scheduled to go to Double-A this year after finishing 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA at high-Class A last season.

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