Boxberger optioned; 7 others reassigned
The Rays cut the field of candidates for the open spots in their bullpen by optioning RHP Brad Boxberger to Triple-A Durham after Thursday's game.
Rays manager Joe Maddon heaped praise on Boxberger, who was acquired in trade from San Diego, but made it clear he will not be considered for the potential three final spots in the bullpen.
Also reassigned to the minors were OF Justin Christian, INFs Cole Figueroa and Jerry Sands, C Ali Solis, LHP Adam Liberatore, and RHPs Steve Geltz and Juan Sandoval.
With Boxberger sent down, the Rays have Josh Lueke, Brandon Gomes and Mark Lowe competing for one to three spots. There was one opening at the start of camp, and with Juan Carlos Oviedo reporting late and now a longshot to be ready for opening day there likely will be a second. If Cesar Ramos, who was the long reliever, wins the No. 5 starter's job there would be a third spot available.
"I think Boxy is outstanding - I told him that,'' Maddon said. "He's another big-league player we sent out. We sent out a lot of major-league players this year.''
Maddon said the Rays want him to work on fastball command, that "the other stuff is extraordinary, the other pitches - his knuckle-curve and his changeup well above average major-league pitches. Fastball command gets better he's going to be very, very succesful.''