Carlos Hernandez, Talbot, Davis, Beckham sent to minors
LHP Carlos Hernandez and RHP Mitch Talbot, two of the candidates for the fifth starter's spot, were among 12 players sent to the minor leagues by the Rays today, reducing the spring roster to 44.
Hernandez said he was disappointed, but also encouraged by how he has felt and thrown and hoped to get back to the majors (for the first time since 2004) sometime this season with the Rays. "I'm healthy, that's the main thing; that's all that matters to me right now,'' he said. "I'm really encouraged.''
With Hernandez and Talbot out of the picture, the competition appears to be down to RHPs Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel (the two pre-camp frontrunners who are both out of options) and LHP David Price (who the Rays have indicated would be better served by more time at Triple-A)
Also shipped out were RHP Wade Davis, the promising prospect who showed this spring why he likely will be in the majors sometime this season, and SS Tim Beckham, the 19-year-old top pick from last year's draft.
The others were RHPs Jason Childers, Dale Thayer, Winston Abreu, Julio DePaula and Dewon Day; LHP Jake McGee (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery); INF Chris Nowak and C Matt Spring.
Beckham appears headed to the Rays new Class A affiliate in Bowling Green, Ky., for his first full season. "I learned so much mentally on defense and physically on defense. I was soaking in as much as I could,'' he said. "It makes you wants to get here so much faster and work so much harder than what I have been working.''
Davis, Talbot and Thayer were optioned to Triple-A; McGee was optioned to the minors with no team specified. The other players were reassigned to minor-league camp.