The Tampa Bay Rays have claimed left-handed pitcher Pedro Figueroa off release waivers from the Oakland Athletics, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Figueroa was placed on release waivers by the Athletics before Christmas in order to clear 40-man roster space for catcher Chris Gimenez, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays.
Figueroa, 28, has spent his entire career in the Athletics' organization after being signed as an international free agent in 2003. He has made 24 relief appearances in the majors over the past two seasons, posting a 4.38 ERA in 24.2 innings.
Figueroa spent most of 2013 with Triple-A Sacramento, and was 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 59.1 innings of work. He was rated by Baseball America as having the best fastball in the Athletics' system before last season, and was among the organization's top 31 prospects in each of the last four seasons. He reached his peak after the 2009 season, when Baseball America ranked him as the Athletics' fifth best prospect.
For the Rays, Figueroa could compete for a spot in the bullpen in spring training along with left-handers Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, and Alex Torres. He still has an option remaining, so the more likely scenario has him beginning the season with Triple-A Durham.