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Boxberger progressing, but 'cutting it close'

Right-hander scheduled to pitch in Minor League game on Tuesday
The Rays don't want to rush the recovery of Brad Boxberger, who was limited to 27 games last year. (AP)
March 18, 2017

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Rays reliever Brad Boxberger, recovering from back soreness, threw batting practice on Saturday morning without limitation at the team's training facility in Port Charlotte.Manager Kevin Cash said the right-hander is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday, but is "cutting it close" as to

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Rays reliever Brad Boxberger, recovering from back soreness, threw batting practice on Saturday morning without limitation at the team's training facility in Port Charlotte.
Manager Kevin Cash said the right-hander is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday, but is "cutting it close" as to whether or not he will be ready by Opening Day on April 2 against the Yankees.
Boxberger, who led the American League with 41 saves in 2015 to earn his first All-Star nod, was limited to 27 games last season due to injuries.

"We'll just have to wait and see," Cash said following Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
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"The last thing we want him to do is feel like he's got to rush something. We want Box healthy for most of the season. If he's a little behind, we can deal with that. I think we all saw what took place when that didn't happen last year. We've got to get him healthy."
Worth noting
• Right-hander Austin Pruitt turned in another solid outing against the Blue Jays, allowing two hits and an unearned run while striking out two and walking one over three innings of work.
Cash said the ninth-round pick in the 2013 Draft continues to pitch efficiently and -- along with righty Chase Whitley -- has put himself in the conversation for an Opening Day roster spot.
"It's great," Cash said. "They're not making anything hard. They're going out and putting their best feet forward and competing really well, and putting themselves in the mix for further discussion."
Casey Gillaspie had what looked to be a sure two-out hit down the right-field line taken away in the sixth. But Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak had other plans, making a high, acrobatic leap into the air before coming down with the ball along the line to end the inning.

Jeff Odom is a contributor for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.