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Rays trade reliever Kevin Jepsen to Minnesota for two minor leaguers

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The Tampa Bay Rays have messed with success.

The Rays traded relief pitcher Kevin Jepson, one of their golden trio out of the bullpen this year. On most nights the Rays have won this season, it has been by getting five or so innings out of their starting pitcher and then an inning each out of Jepson, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger.

The Rays will get minor leaguers Chin Wa-Hu and Alexis Tapia  from the Minnesota Twins in return.

Hu (CHEE-WAY HOO), 21, was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game this season, going 5-3 with a 2.44 ERA (84.2-IP, 23-ER) in 15 starts for Class-A Fort Myers. He currently ranks third in the FSL in ERA and fourth in strikeouts per nine innings (7.8). Last season, his 2.15 ERA (71-IP, 17-ER) across two levels ranked eighth among Twins minor leaguers. Over parts of three minor league seasons, he is 16-5 with a 2.31 ERA (198.1-IP, 51-ER) and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Hu was ranked by ESPN’s Keith Law as the No. 16 prospect in the Twins organization entering the season. He was signed by the Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Taiwan in 2012.

Tapia (TAH-pee-uh), 19, is 8-5 with a 2.94 ERA (122.1-IP, 40-ER) over parts of three minor league seasons. He has made eight appearances (six starts) between Fort Myers and Rookie-level Elizabethton this season, going 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA (35-IP, 14-ER), and had a career-high nine strikeouts in his last start on July 27. He was signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2012.

Jepsen, 31, was acquired for Matt Joyce in the off-season. He made 46 appearances for Tampa Bay and had 2.81 ERA, a 1.30 Whip and 34 strikeouts. Last year, he had a lower walk rate and higher strikeout rate.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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