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Rays tab Pruitt for bullpen slot

Shultz, Whitney optioned to Minor Leagues
March 30, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right-hander Austin Pruitt will be on the Rays' Opening Day roster. Right-handers Jaime Schultz and Chase Whitley will not.Pruitt received the news he'd made the team prior to Thursday's workout at Charlotte Sports Park. Meanwhile, Schultz and Whitley were both informed they had been optioned to

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right-hander Austin Pruitt will be on the Rays' Opening Day roster. Right-handers Jaime Schultz and Chase Whitley will not.
Pruitt received the news he'd made the team prior to Thursday's workout at Charlotte Sports Park. Meanwhile, Schultz and Whitley were both informed they had been optioned to Minor League camp.
Pruitt went 8-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts for Triple-A Durham in 2016. But he will work out of the bullpen for the Rays.
"I'm definitely surprised," Pruitt said. "Obviously, this is something where I came in wanting [to make the team], but kept my hopes a little low so I didn't get crushed or anything. This is just an absolute dream come true. I cannot believe that this is going on."
Telling guys they have not made the team is one of the toughest jobs a manager has to do. So Rays manager Kevin Cash enjoyed telling Pruitt the opposite on Thursday.
"That's been probably the best conversation all spring," Cash said. "It's been real exciting to watch him, not knowing him, then to come in and compete the way he has. Mound demeanor, stuff. Everything really showed up well. It's a great story. And it's going to continue to be a great story because he's going to help us in a lot of ways this season."
When asked about Pruitt's role in the bullpen, Cash told reporters "there's not going to be many defined roles coming out of Spring Training."
"We've got unique situations where guys can provide lengthier innings," Cash said. "I think looking at it, Austin will be used as a multi-inning [guy]. But those multi-inning roles could come in a 2-1 ballgame. We wouldn't hesitate to do that with him."
Schultz, who has primarily started in the Minor Leagues, will continue to work as a reliever at Triple-A Durham. Whitley will likely get stretched out to be a starter. Cash complimented both for having "solid springs" and hinted each would be in the Major Leagues this season.
Definites for the Rays' bullpen include: Xavier Cedeno, Alex Colome, Tommy Hunter, Pruitt, and Erasmo Ramirez. The most likely pair to round out the seven-man group are Danny Farquhar and Jumbo Diaz. There always is the possibility the Rays could also claim a pitcher waived by another team, or that they might make a trade prior to Opening Day.