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Spring training 2017: Rays’ David Carpenter is throwing 97 miles per hour

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Former Braves reliever David Carpenter is back, throwing 97 mph as a Rays non-roster invite.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last spring training, the Rays invited David Carpenter into their major league camp and he did well in the limited action he saw over the month of March. However, as final cuts were made, Carpenter was called into Kevin Cash’s office, told he would not be making the Opening Day roster, and was released.

Carpenter once had an average velocity of 96 miles per hour on his fastball, but that shriveled to him barely touching 90 mph when he was with the Rays last spring.

The great Neil Solondz interviewed Carpenter on Friday, in which the reliever explained how tossing a football with a former Rays batboy, Jesse Litsch — who was more notably a former major league pitcher and is now a pitching coach — changed the way Carpenter threw and allowed him to regain his velocity.

Carpenter is reportedly now able to reach up to 97 miles per hour.

The Rays are taking another flyer on Carpenter. But, if it’s true that he is able to reach the high 90s again, while still possessing decent secondary pitches, the Rays may have added some more stiff competition for an already tight bullpen battle.

Over the next month, Carpenter will be a pitcher to watch for.