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Austin Pruitt earns spot in Rays bullpen; Schultz, Whitley sent down

Kevin Cash likes what he sees from Peter Bourjos, Derek Norris

30

March

RHP Austin Pruitt could hardly believe the news himself, informed Thursday morning he had won a spot in the Rays bullpen and will make his major-league debut.

Pruitt was chosen over RHPs Jaime Schultz and Chase Whitley, who were both sent to Triple-A.

Pruitt impressed the Rays with his mound demeanor and control, manager Kevin Cash said, and will be used in multi-inning roles. He was a starter last season at Triple-A Durham.

"I'm definitely surprised,'' said Pruitt. "This is an absolute dream come true. I can't believe this is going on.''

Schultz, impressive with a high-octane fastball, will work in relief at Durham. Whitley will be a starter there, but could be called up to pitch in relief.

Cash said it likely will be Friday or Saturday before the Rays make their final decisions on the remaining bullpen spot, with out-of-options RHP Jumbo Diaz the leading in-house candidate, and the bench, where INFs Nick Franklin and Daniel Robertson and OFs Peter Bourjos and Mallex Smith are competing for three spots.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (63) delivers a pitch during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game Saturday, March 18, 2017 in Dunedin.

CHRIS URSO | Times

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (63) delivers a pitch during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during a spring training game Saturday, March 18, 2017 in Dunedin.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 30, 2017 10:18am]

    

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