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Rays name Odorizzi fifth starter

The Rays have named Jake Odorizzi to the starting rotation, beating out stiff competition in veteran southpaws Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos.

Entering camp, the expectation was that Erik Bedard would win the opening in the rotation, but Odorizzi was able to develop a new pitch this off-season that gave him the edge: a split-change, learned from Alex Cobb -- the same pitcher who struck out twelve over seven innings this afternoon.

The team has asked Bedard to accept a Triple-A assignment, but he may rather choose free agency, and an opportunity with a team with a present need for him at the major league level.

Plenty of organizations have been plagued by Tommy John surgery this winter, including the Athletics and Braves, so it's presumable that Bedard will find work elsewhere, and quickly.

Earlier today I presented the case for Cesar Ramos, who should continue to be effective as the long man in the 'pen. Maddon noted that his performance this Spring has given him new found confidence in handing him high leverage situation.

Jake Odorizzi was recently named the Rays top prospect in the DRaysBay writer's poll, and in the Beyond the Box Score aggregate rankings.

We will continue to update this page as news and reactions break.

Edit 7:00: After the spring training game, Joe Maddon talked to reporters about not choosing Erik Bedard for the fifth starter spot: