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Rays slimming the roster ahead of Opening Day

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Team also signed veteran SP Scott Diamond to the minor league side.

Welcome Scott Diamond to the Rays organization
Welcome Scott Diamond to the Rays organization
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays assigned eight players to the minor league side, many of those expected. C Mayo Acosta, OF Corey Brown, OF Joey Butler, RHP Jhan Marinez, and RHP Jim Miller were allll pretty far from contending for a major league slot, but three others might have liked to stay. LHP Jordan Norberto, RHP Brandon Gomes and LHP Everett Teaford.

Teaford is competing for a long man-fifth starter role, and being assigned now does not preclude the Rays from bringing him back up, but in the final week of camp these notifications are courtesy, to let players know in case they need to look for opportunities elsewhere in baseball. All eight players should stay in camp.

Meanwhile, Gomes had made a big push this Spring to get back into the 25-man roster, but a reliever's demotion this late normally spells Triple-A come opening day. Cash sounded legitimately saddened at sending Gomes down, calling him "extremely respectful and understanding" and reminding the press core "he will impact us soon." So chin up, Ian.

Important reminder: you might see all the guys above pitch again. Teaford is even starting one of today's split squad games. They're simply not expected to be on the 25-man roster. In the mean time, the Rays have said on multiple occasions they don't need a fifth starter until April 14th, and with Colome and Smyly progressing well, either might lighten the work load of re-hab starts to get back in the fold.

On the active roster, names still competing include RHP Steve Geltz, LHP Mike Montgomery, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, and RHP Kirby Yates for the bullpen. That doesn't include players already sent down, such as Burch Smith who could be re-called once the Disabled List goes into proper effect.

Personally, I would consider Yates and Smith to be the favorites for McGee's bullpen slot and the fifth starter openings, but we haven't heard about Smith in a while so Montgomery might have an edge.

Elsewhere, the catching battle between Curt Casali's offense and Bobby Wilson's glove carries on.

Rays Notes

- Veteran starters are becoming suddenly available as rosters near the Sunday deadline to be finalized, but the Rays have reached farther in the past, picking up Scott Diamond.

Topkin is correct, Diamond did not pitch at the major league level in 2014 and should be considered Durham depth.

- Matt Andriese got himself into trouble in yesterday's start, but he speaks like a man with confidence so there's like no doubt he's in line for fourth starter still.

- Some noteworthy tweets from Rays players.

Longoria reminding all of us how to handle Monday like a champ, or life in general:

and these two tweets from Brent Honeywell (whose birthday is today) which are surely related:

Links

- Happy 20th anniversary of the baseball strike ending.

- Here's a run down on the new pace of play rules, and what they mean. The new rules:

The three most important changes about to go into effect in 2015:

• With certain exceptions, hitters must keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches throughout their at-bat.

• Each ballpark will have between-inning countdown timers to ensure the next half-inning starts promptly. The timers will be set at 2 minutes, 25 seconds for most games, 2:45 for nationally televised games. Pitchers and hitters will both be encouraged to be ready to go when the clock reaches :20.

• Managers can now signal instant-replay challenges to umpires from the dugout area, instead of from the field.

Oh, and two more things: Once the phase-in period ends May 1, players can be fined up to $500 per violation if hitters don't follow the batter's box rule or pitchers aren't ready to pitch when the countdown clock hits zero. And umpires have been encouraged not to be confrontational in dealing with those violations. But privately, they're concerned that won't be possible. So that part will be, well, interesting.

You'll note two "slow" pitchers isolated, Joel Peralta and David Price, are mentioned in the article. I've found it entertaining from Tigers fan brethren getting upset at Price's pace of play. I noticed it with Peralta, but I think I accepted it with Price too readily, just happy to watch him pitch.

- From Baseball Prospectus: all spin is not alike

- Finally: Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning on another playoff berth for the Stanley Cup. Alex Cobb was on hand to see the Boltz sweep Montreal and clinch the post season.

Take that, Montreal!

Birth/berth. What's the difference? And it should be noted, Longo is a big Bolts fan:

- Oh and in case you missed the big news: