PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays announced several moves prior to Sunday's 11-1 win over the Yankees, leaving 27 players in Major League camp as they move toward Thursday's Opening Day contest against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.Still to be determined is the fifth outfielder slot, which has come
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays announced several moves prior to Sunday's 11-1 win over the Yankees, leaving 27 players in Major League camp as they move toward Thursday's Opening Day contest against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
Still to be determined is the fifth outfielder slot, which has come down to a decision between Johnny Field and Brandon Snyder unless the Rays opt to bring in an as-yet-to-be-determined acquisition.
The Rays informed pitchers Yonny Chirinos, Andrew Kittredge and Ryan Yarbrough that they have made the team, but also told right-hander Daniel Hudson and left-hander Dan Jennings that they have not.
"[Telling them they made the team] is probably one of the best conversations you can have," manager Kevin Cash said.
Reassigned to Minor League camp were infielders Micah Johnson and Kean Wong, outfielder Jason Coats, catcher Adam Moore and left-hander Jonny Venters. Catcher Curt Casali will be reassigned to Minor League camp following Tuesday afternoon's game at Tropicana Field.
Right-hander Austin Pruitt was optioned to Triple-A Durham.
"Look, Pruitt's going to play a huge part for us, no doubt," Cash said. "But I thought the way those guys pitched, Yarbrough and Chirinos, both coming off starter innings, starter workload -- that's going to provide some coverage for us. And Kittredge, he just had a great spring. He's really good, and we're going to use him in a lot of different situations."
Right-hander Jose De Leon, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month, is still in camp but is expected to be moved to the disabled list, which would bring the roster to 26.
Homer of a day
The Rays hit six home runs in Sunday's win. Carlos Gomez, Adeiny Hechavarria and Daniel Robertson represented those who will be on this year's team, and prospects Josh Lowe, Tristan Gray and Jermaine Palacios also went deep, which put smiles on everyone's faces.
"Pretty exciting, really exciting," Cash said. "Josh Lowe, Tristan Gray and Palacios. It's always good to see those guys come over and have success. It motivates us as coaches, and even their older teammates here, to know what's coming."
Quote of the Day
"He'll throw a strike. It'll hurt. But he'll throw a strike." -- Cash, on whether longtime coach Tom Foley will throw a strike for the ceremonial first pitch for Opening Day
Cash is excited about the defense that this year's Rays will roll out.
"We know we have to do everything we can to limit other teams from scoring," Cash said. "We should have a lot of speed in the outfield covering a lot of ground. And the guys, all spring, with the exception of one or two ballgames, have shown catching the ground balls. We've handled every routine play.
"And we've made some spectacular plays. Especially with [Hechavarria], with [Matt] Duffy being healthy and seeing Joey Wendle moving around. [Wendle] brings a lot of range to his game and really makes our infield tight, and it's tough to get balls through there. ... Same thing [with Daniel Robertson].
"We feel really good, ultimately, about the ground we're able to cover, infield and outfield."
The Rays travel to Lakeland on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Tigers, live on MLB.TV. Nathan Eovaldi makes his final spring start in advance of taking the hill for the Rays' fourth game of the season, against the Yankees on April 2 in New York. Francisco Liriano will start for Detroit.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.