Rays' Brad Boxberger: Unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

Manager Kevin Cash said Monday that it's unlikely Boxberger (back) will be ready to pitch by Opening Day, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I just don't see how [Boxberger being ready for Opening Day] is going to happen. I'm not saying it won't, but it's very tough for me -- where are we at, the 20th?" Cash said. "Realistically, key piece in our bullpen, we're going to do right by him and want him to get his innings and reps. It's going to be very difficult to do that.''

Boxberger's strained lat muscle hasn't responded to treatment as well as the Rays had hoped, and after the team scratched him from his scheduled Grapefruit League appearance Tuesday, it's become increasingly clear that the reliever may be forced to hit the DL. The Rays were counting on Boxberger to solidify himself as the top setup man to closer Alex Colome this spring, but it now appears that Cash will be forced to experiment with multiple different options in the seventh and eighth inning to begin the campaign.

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