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SAN DIEGO — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Oliver Drake was replaced on the AL Division Series roster by right-hander Trevor Richards just hours before Game 4 against the New York Yankees on Thursday night at Petco Park.

Tampa Bay leads 2-1 in the best-of-five series.

The roster swap had to be approved by the commissioner’s office.

Drake would be ineligible to return if the Rays advance to the ALCS but would be eligible to return if they reach the World Series.

Manager Kevin Cash said Drake has what appears to be a flexor strain. Drake pitched in Game 1 on Monday night, a 7-4 loss, and threw on the side the next day. Cash said Drake told the team he didn’t feel he could pitch in Game 2.

“It is frustrating and disappointing for Ollie,” Cash said. “As much as anybody, he wants to pitch and believe me, if he could pitch through it, he would. This was something that we didn’t feel comfortable doing.”

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