Devil Rays Add Walker To Bullpen

Quickly tiring of Tyler Walker’s struggles in the opening month of the 2006 season, the Giants decided they had seen enough. On Friday, San Francisco traded the reliever to the Devil Rays for Triple-A reliever Carlos Hines.

Walker, who bailed the Giants out with 23 saves last year after Armando Benitez got hurt, got lit up for a 15.19 ERA in six appearances with San Francisco this season. His usual solid command was off, as evidenced by his five walks and three strikeouts in five innings, and opponents hit .391 with one homer against him. The Giants had designated him for assignment on Sunday. A 29-year-old righthander, Walker is a sinker-slider pitcher who operates in the low 90s with his fastball. He’s making $387,000 this season and will become arbitration-eligible for the first time afterward. He earned a save against the Red Sox in his first appearance for a Devil Rays club that has been relying on Dan Miceli and Shawn Camp. Walker’s career big league record stands at 12-6, 4.74 with 25 saves in 131 games.

Hines, a 25-year-old righty, originally signed with the Reds as a 24th-round pick out of a North Carolina high school in 1999. Released after just three months, he hooked on with the Devil Rays in mid-2001. Hines can throw 92-97 mph, and he’s effective when he has command and a reliable slider. He went 1-1, 1.80 in eight appearances at Triple-A Durham. In 10 innings, he posted a 7-2 K-BB ratio while opponents hit .302 against him. The Giants assigned Hines, who has yet to make his major league debut, to Triple-A Fresno.

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