ST. PETERSBURG - Lefty Adam Kolarek won the final spot in the Rays bullpen as right-hander Emilio Pagan was optioned to the minors.
Keeping Kolarek gives the Rays a situational lefty in the pen to join Jose Alvarado, who is going to be saved for high-leverage situations; Jalen Beeks, who will primarily be used for longer stints; and Ryan Yarbrough, who is slated as a bulk-inning guy pitching behind an opener and occasional starter.
"I know the matchups in theory going forward what they’re going to be the first couple series (against the Astros, Rockies and Giants),'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought Adam was a deserving fit in our bullpen.''
As for Pagan, who had a strong spring after being acquired in trade from Oakland, Cash said:
"Difficult conversation in the fact that he pitched really well. We expressed that what we thought of when we acquired him we probably think more highly of him now. It’s tough because these guys grind through spring training, they’re trying to impress, they’re putting added pressure on, which we all understand. Sometimes, spring numbers just don’t correlate with our decisions. We say that to everybody making the team or getting sent down.
"But Emilio is going to be a huge part of our roster going forward.''
With three starters, the Rays have a nine-man bullpen of lefties Jose Alvarado, Beeks, Kolarek and Yarbrough; and right-handers Diego Castillo, Yonny Chirinos, Wilmer Font, Ryne Stanek and Chaz Roe.
The Rays will wait until Thursday’s deadline to submit their final 25-man roster but no changes, barring a new injury, are planned.