Chris Bootcheck, R.J. Swindle, and Mike Ekstrom were all re-assigned to minor league camp today according to Marc Topkin. None of these moves are a surprise to anyone that takes the time to analyze the numbers here. Ekstrom has had a very bad spring and while he has some skills as a ROOGY, there are a lot of guys on the team right now that can do that. Bootcheck was brought in mainly to use against AL East opponents in the spring while Swindle is a true LOOGY role that can also be filled by either Cesar Cabral or Cesar Ramos.
Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Adam Russell, and Andy Sonnanstine were near locks to make the roster especially since the final two would have to be exposed to waivers. At this point in camp, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest Jacob McGee is going to make the club meaning the final two spots come down to a left-handed role between the Cesar’s and a righty role between Cory Wade, Juan Cruz, and Rob Delaney.
Thanks to Rays’ communication man Dave Haller, here are the pitching logs for each of those guys as of this time yesterday:
Cesar Ramos has worked more frequently than the young Cabral, and has a lot more experience than Cabral does who has never pitched above A ball. I would be stunned if the club relied on a Rule 5 pick as the lefty-specialist this season and in the smallest of sample sizes, major league hitters are just 8 for 38 against Ramos with 10 strikeouts.
The right-handed spot is a strong competition as all three arms have pitched very well. Cruz’s numbers look strong while Delaney has been not give up a run in all but one of his appearances and has given up just one hit over his last seven innings. Wade has also impressed with strikeouts but has given up a few home runs of late. Last season, the club sent Joaquin Benoit down to AAA for a few weeks to build up his arm strength after missing 2009 with shoulder surgery and could very well do the same with Cruz this season. Notice that he has been pitching every three days and pitched again last night against the Yankees, three days after his last appearance.
Delaney is the only one of the three that is on the 40 man roster meaning that if Cruz or Wade were to make the club, the Rays would have to clear a 40 man roster spot for them first.