Notes: Baldelli headed for DL
Outfielder has been slowed by a strained left hamstring
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays trimmed their roster to 25 on Saturday, thereby answering questions about who would win several spring battles for roster spots.
And center fielder Rocco Baldelli is among those who won't be in the Opening Day lineup. Baldelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 24, with a strained left hamstring.
"We had to make a decision on [Baldelli] so it would make it easier on everyone," Maddon said. "Just based on what I was hearing and what I thought, we thought it was the best thing to keep him on the DL for now.
"So again, when he comes back, he'll be healthy for the rest of the season. We don't want this stuff where guys come back for a little bit then they go back to Triple-A or get injured. We need to be prudent this time of year. If it's September, or playoff time, he probably plays; we'd tell him just to take it easy, don't exert yourself or whatever. The fact that it is April, you want to make sure."
The Rays have not put a timetable on Baldelli's return, opting to leave the decision in his hands when he feels well.
Joining Baldelli on the disabled list were third baseman Sean Burroughs (lower back strain, 15-day DL, retroactive to March 30) and right-hander Shinji Mori (labrum tear in right shoulder, 60-day DL).
Doug Waechter won the spring's most prominent competition by getting the nod over Edwin Jackson to be the team's No. 5 starter. Jackson was optioned to Triple-A Durham.
"We just want to see [Jackson] have a real nice run of success," said Maddon. "He did a great job here. We still think there's a couple of things for him to work on. We don't want him to be on the shuttle between here and Durham. We want him, once he's here, to stay here. So we identified some things we want him to be better at, and he was very receptive to those things."
Maddon reemphasized how well Jackson did at making in-game adjustments throughout the spring.
"I can't worry about what I can't control," Jackson said. "Of course, you know, I felt that overall I had a decent Spring Training. I'll go down, continue to work hard, and try and get better."
Catcher Kevin Cash also was optioned to Durham.
Other winners in position battles included right-handers Jason Childers and Ruddy Lugo, who were selected from Durham. Both players will pitch out of the bullpen.
Infielders Russell Branyan and Greg Norton were reassigned to Minor League camp. Norton appeared to have a good shot at making the team after hitting .396 with a home run and seven RBIs, but he pulled his left hamstring in Friday's game against the Tigers.
"Norton was in the running, quite frankly, until he got shot in the leg yesterday," Maddon said. "That guy was having a great spring, and quite honestly, may have figured in. Then that happened, and we had to go to Plan B and Plan C."
With Branyan and Norton out of the picture, Luis Ordaz, Ty Wigginton and Nick Green will fill the utility infield roles.
"Those guys can play a lot of positions," Maddon said. "Ordaz, to me, plays everywhere. So does Greenie. [Heading into Spring Training] I was led to believe that Greenie wasn't as good at shortstop as he was at the other positions. But he can play all of those positions. So Greenie became more valuable as a baseball player this spring. And he'll also do fine in the outfield."
First time around the rotation: Waechter is the team's fifth starter, but he will not pitch the first time through the rotation. Scott Kazmir will start Monday's opener in Baltimore and will be followed by Seth McClung on Wednesday. Mark Hendrickson, who battled a hip problem during the early part of Spring Training, will pitch on Thursday in Baltimore, then Casey Fossum will open the series against the Blue Jays on Friday in Toronto.
Fossum's success against Toronto in 2005 was a factor in the decision to have him pitch in the fourth slot -- Fossum went 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA against the Blue Jays last season, and he was 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA against Toronto at the Rogers Centre.
Bullpen wide open: Friday's news that Chad Orvella had been optioned to Durham was perhaps the biggest surprise of the spring. The right-hander entered camp as a candidate for the closer spot, but he did not perform well, posting a 1-0 mark with a 7.59 ERA in nine appearances. Maddon, who said Orvella will play a big part in the team's future, attributed Orvella getting sent down to his delivery to the plate being too slow. The right-hander had been working on cutting down his delivery time to the plate, which might have adversely affected his mechanics.
And while Orvella struggled, Shawn Camp, Lugo and Childers performed well.
"They earned the right to be here, they really did. Childers did and Lugo did," Maddon said. "Camp's done a great job. These guys came in and they've been very impressive. They've come in and thrown strikes and got hitters out on a consistent basis."
"The bullpen has probably been the biggest surprise," Maddon said.
Maddon sounded pleased with the composition of the bullpen, which includes Camp, Childers, Lugo, Travis Harper, Dan Miceli, Jesus Colome, Brian Meadows and Waechter, until he goes back into the starting rotation.
"[The bullpen is] a fluid situation. We believe in these guys," Maddon said. "It's an amorphic bullpen -- there are no roles right now. ... I want them to define their roles. I'm all about role definition in the bullpen. But I can't sit there right now and honestly say what I'm thinking, because I'd be making stuff up. ... I want them to place themselves as we go along."
The brothers Lugo: Ruddy Lugo is the brother of Rays shortstop Julio Lugo, bringing forth yet another case of brothers playing on the same team. Here are the most recent instances: Bengie and Jose Molina, Angels, 2005; J.D. Drew and Tim Drew, Braves, 2004; Bengie and Jose Molina, Angels, 2004; and Roberto Alomar and Sandy Alomar Jr., White Sox, 2004.
Coming up: The Rays travel to Baltimore on Sunday in advance of opening the season against the Orioles on Monday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Left-hander Scott Kazmir will start for the Rays; Rodrigo Lopez will counter for the O's.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.