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Rays send Matt Andriese to Durham … for now

PORT CHARLOTTE — While Wednesday's biggest moves were the end for Rays 1B James Loney and C Rene Rivera, the team made several other transactions in advance of Saturday's deadline to set their 25-man roster.

The Rays optioned RHP Matt Andriese, 26, to Durham. He split time between starting and relieving last season and could be back soon when the schedule requires Tampa Bay to use a fifth starter. Andriese had pitched well this spring, with a 1.13 ERA in eight innings and six strikeouts against two walks.

"Matt was a huge part of our team. It's a little difficult at times," manager Kevin Cash said. "That was a tough conversation, simply because he meant so much. He's a big-league pitcher. He can pitch in the big leagues for us. And he will pitch in the big leagues, just not necessarily right on opening day.

"If you look at where Matt Andriese has come from, from this time last year to now, we told him in the meeting he might be our most improved pitcher."

Also optioned was 1B Richie Shaffer, who hit 3-for-24 (.125) this spring.

In addition to Rivera, the Rays also released RH reliever David Carpenter, who had a 0.00 ERA since being signed to a minor-league deal three weeks ago.

SECOND ACT OVER: Former Rays 1B Dan Johnson, who had signed a minor-league deal March 6 hoping to resurrect his career as a knuckleball pitcher, was released from minor-league camp, the team announced.

Johnson, 36, is best known for two of the most dramatic home runs in Rays history, both tying games in the ninth inning. He hit one in a September 2008 game against the Red Sox and closer Jonathan Papelbon and another as part of the Rays' comeback in Game 162 in 2011.

HITLESS: LHP Drew Smyly couldn't have asked for more from his final start of spring training from a results standpoint: four innings, no hits and seven strikeouts against one walk.

"I think everybody's getting antsy for the season. They want it to start," said Smyly, who will pitch Monday in the Rays' second game of the season. "It's a good way to end the spring."

Smyly said he put extra emphasis on his curveball Wednesday, and it helped him get his final six outs by strikeout.

"I wouldn't say surprised, but I threw way more curveballs than I usually would," he said. "My goal was to throw it, make the hitter swing at it vs. laying off on it. I thought I got some good swings on it" Wednesday.

LONGO OKAY: 3B Evan Longoria didn't play Wednesday and hasn't played since Sunday, but Cash said he was "fine" and will play one game today or Friday as he prepares for Sunday's season opener.

"More or less resting," Cash said. "Long spring. I think Longo, his maturity, he realizes when his body says he needs a little bit of a rest. He's trying to recharge everything for opening day, because we know once opening day starts, he's going to want to be out there every day. We're fine with that."

GAME DETAILS: OF Mikie Mahtook had a two-run home run in the Rays' 4-3 win over Boston, with SS Brad Miller adding a solo shot. It was the second spring home run for both. … LHP Enny Romero had what Cash called a "glitch," giving up three hits and three earned runs in the seventh inning, including a walk of Red Sox star David Ortiz. … RHP Andrew Bellatti, competing for the final bullpen job, threw a perfect two-inning save, striking out two.

Rays send Matt Andriese to Durham … for now 03/30/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:01am]
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