Jul 8, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeremy Hellickson working his way back

While many of his teammates are enjoying a few days off with the All-Star festivities, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is looking to find a groove with some extra outings at the Minor League level.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, manager Joe Maddon wants Hellickson to sharpen up his game as he works his way back to top form following elbow surgery this past January.

“He was fine the last time, but I think this should really sharpen the edge up a little bit,” manager Joe Maddon told the Times.

The roster move that sent Hellickson down to Double-A Montgomery corresponded with the activation of left-hander Jake McGee, who was activated from the paternity list. In his first start with Montgomery, Hellickson was nothing short of dominant, tossing six innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits, while striking out 11. He did not walk a batter.

The 27-year-old has made just one start for the Rays since his return from surgery, allowing one run on six hits in 4 1/3 innings of work, but over the past several seasons, Hellickson has struggled to recapture the form that he had in his 2011 American League Rookie of the Year campaign, when he went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA in 29 starts.

Last season was arguably the worst of his big league career, as we went 12-10, but posted the highest earned run average of his career – 5.17 – over 31 starts.

When asked about the move, Hellickson didn’t seem opposed to it.

“I wasn’t opposed to it,” Hellickson said. “It’s not too big of a hassle. I need to keep getting work in.”

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