It's the top of the fifth here at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers and the Rays have announced that they have released veteran reliever Dan Miceli.
Entering spring training Miceli, 36, was thought of as one of the relievers who had a bullpen job because of his experience. He was 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 32 innings last season, but he struggled this spring, pitching to a 9.53 ERA in exhibition play. He allowed seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Miceli, in the second year of a three-year contract, will still cost the Rays $850,000 -- $650,000 in 2007 base salary and a $200,000 buyout for 2008.
The move trims the Rays' spring roster to 33 and also opens up a roster spot on the 40-man, likely for spot starter/reliever Gary Glover.
With just two days left until the Rays have to trim their roster to 25, the move speaks to the competition Tampa Bay has had in camp -- especially in the bullpen. Out of Seth McClung, Chad Orvella and Juan Salas, only one reliever will make the team. And maybe Miceli's past record of character issues crept up in an organization that has done everything to improve its clubhouse atmosphere.