Rays name Odorizzi fifth starter, Ramos to bullpen
The Rays have finally decided: RHP Jake Odorizzi will be their fifth starter, and LHP Cesar Ramos will go back to the bullpen.
In what manager Joe Maddon labeled a very difficult decision, he said Odorizzi's body of work last September - plus his new "spectacular" split/change pitch - put him over the top and into the rotation.
Odorizzi, who said he could barely sleep last night, was clearly emotional about the honor.
"It’s incredible - I don’t even know how to describe it," Odorizzi said. "I feel honored to be picked out of the three, because any one of us could've gotten it."
The Rays told veteran LHP Erik Bedard, the third candidate, they hope he stays with the organization at Triple-A. Bedard seemed open to it, though has a Mar. 31 opt-out clause so he can pursue other big-league opportunities with other teams. Odorizzi and Ramos were told to stay in the clubhouse until after the game so the Rays could tell them their decision.
Maddon said Ramos made a tremendous impression, opened their eyes as he was on a mission and really wanted it bad. Ramos, who had a great spring, may pitch in more higher-leverage situations out of the bullpen, and could be a starter down the line.
"He made it very, very hard," Maddon said.