The Rays spent the winter trying to reconstruct a bullpen emptied by the free agent departures of seven of their eight most used relievers. Then they spent the spring trying to put the pieces together.
On Tuesday, in the relievers' first real test, they passed with flying colors.
"I thought Joel and Kyle came through in really sterling fashion," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They're veterans, they have good stuff. Sometimes it's just about opportunity to really realize your ceiling. With both of those guys, you're going to get plenty of high leverage moments. They really handled it emotionally very well. I liked their look. I liked their demeanor. And they threw strikes."
Maddon isn't committed to those two in specific eighth- and ninth-inning roles, but until he sees something he doesn't like, or something he likes better from some of the other relievers, that looks like how it's going to be.
"That's a lot of fun," said Farnsworth, who hadn't had more than one save in a season since 2006. "That's what you look forward to in a situation like that, go out there and compete against the best, go out there and have fun. You just have to stay relaxed and stay within yourself. ...
"We definitely know what we're doing out there. We just have to keep it going."
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