Countdown to Opening Day: Who Will Get Rays’ Bullpen Spots?
Now that the Tampa Bay Rays have their fifth rotation spot filled by Jake Odorizzi, eyes have transitioned to the bullpen. It seems that Josh Lueke, Mark Lowe and Brandon Gomes are competing for the two bullpen openings. But, one of these roles is expected to be short-term until Juan Carlos Oviedo is ready to come back.
Cesar Ramos is busy transitioning to a long-relief role after losing out on the fifth-starter job and the Rays now seemingly have three relievers competing for two potential Opening Day bullpen spots.
Right after deciding on his fifth and final starter for the rotation, manager Joe Maddon wasn’t quite ready to confidently announce his final bullpen decision. He told MLB.com, “We’ll take that one down a little bit further. There’s no huge rush on that right now.”
“There are a lot of wonderful candidates there right now. So we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Lueke has a 3.24 ERA over six appearances this spring, though he’s turned in scoreless outings in five of those games. He turned in a dominant 0.63 ERA, to go along with 17 saves, over 40 appearances with Triple-A Durham last year. But, he has struggled with the Rays in the past.
Lowe has had a great spring, tallying a 0.87 ERA over 10 1/3 innings in seven appearances. After signing with the Rays this offseason, he’s proven to be a solid competitor.
Gomes has also made a strong case for a bullpen spot and he has not allowed a single run this spring.
For more on this story visit: Paul Casella, MLB.com