RHP Matt Bush and LHP Alex Torres, two pitchers with powerful arms, were among eight players reassigned to minor-league camp as the Tampa Bay Rays made their first cuts of their spring. The moves leave 54 players in camp.
Those reassigned were:
RHP Brian Baker
RHP Jonah Bayliss
RHP Richard De Los Santos
RHP Ricky Orta
RHP Albert Suarez
OF Brandon Guyer
Bush, who has overcome alcohol issues, has potential to be a late-inning reliever but as a converted shortstop needs to log innings and experience on the mound, and show he can stay healthy.
"I'm sure they're looking forward to me building up some innings, pitching a few months and seeing how I'm doing then,'' Bush said. "And if all goes as plans possibly make it up (to the majors) by then.''
Bush knew he would be sent down but was hoping to stick around past the first cut. "Part of me wanted to think if I could just do as good as I possibly can then I might stay around a little bit longer, but I knew this time was going to come,'' he said. "It always comes as a little bit of a surprise. I've been sent down in a couple major-league camps (with the Padres). The first day or so is kinda tough because it's just so great here. It's my dream to be here. And then you get comfortable and they tell you you've got to go down. But it's just the way it is, and I know I've got to build up some innings and, hey, if I don't make it during this season some time then next year at least I know that won't be the excuse anymore as long as I stay healthy.''
Bush, who pitched just 8 1/3 innings for the Class A Stone Crabs and 5 1/3 in the Gulf Coast League, felt he showed well during the spring, pitching in five games, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks in five innings. "I think I did a pretty good job. I had some sucessful innings and I think I showed I can fit right in with the rest of the guys. And I've been doing really good health-wise which is something obviously they have to keep watch on with me. It's just fun to get out there and work. To throw to some of those major-league hitters was a blast, and to mix in with the guys, get comfortable with everyone, and build up my confidence was great.''
Torres, acquired from the Angels in the Scott Kazmir trade, is one of the Rays promising starting prospects, and was sent down so he can get regular innings in minor-league camp. Bush, a converted shortstop, has potential as a late-inning reliever and needs to log innings and experience.
The players on the 40-man roster - Bush, Suarez (who underwent knee surgery earlier in camp), Torres and Guyer (acquired from the Cubs in the Garza trade) - technically will be be optioned to one of the minor-league affiliates.