- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009

BOSTON (AP) - Tampa Bay traded pitcher Jason Hammel to the Colorado Rockies for minor league pitcher Aneury Rodriguez on Sunday, meaning Jeff Niemann becomes the Rays’ fifth starter.

Niemann, who is 6-foot-9, was the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2004.

Hammel went 4-4 with two saves and a 4.60 ERA in 40 games last season. The 26-year-old righty made five starts in April for the AL champions while Scott Kazmir was on the disabled list.

“Jason was a big part of our success last year,” general manager Andrew Friedman said in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway Park, where the Rays will open the season against Boston on Monday. “We thanked him very much for everything he did.”

Hammel was drafted by Tampa Bay in 2002 and spent his first full season in the majors last year.

Rodriguez, a 21-year-old righty, was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for Class A Modesto last year. He was an All-Star in the California League and ranked second with 139 strikeouts.


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