The Rays released Runzler on Sunday. Runzler delivered scoreless outings in four of his five Grapefruit League appearances with the Rays, but with an Opening Day bullpen spot not in the offing, the left-hander likely requested to be let go. The 32-year-old, who split his 2017 campaign between the Pirates and their Triple-A affiliate at Indianapolis, will look to find work elsewhere with a team in need of a lefty reliever.
Runzler signed a minor-league contract with the Rays which includes an invitation to spring training, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Runzler made eight appearances for the Pirates last year, striking out four batters and allowing two home runs over the course of four innings. It was his first major-league action since 2012. He's spent the majority of the past five seasons pitching in Triple-A, where he's had an xFIP north of 4.20 in each season. The veteran left-hander will look to earn a spot in the Rays' bullpen but doesn't look to be a favorite to secure a roster spot.
Runzler cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent Monday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. The 32-year-old southpaw decided to refuse his outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis, making him eligible to sign anywhere he pleases. Runzler made his first major-league appearance since 2012 last season, compiling a 4.50 ERA and 4:2 K:BB across four innings with the Pirates. At this point in his career, Runzler doesn't figure to serve as anything more than organizational depth.
Runzler's contract was purchased from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. Runzler had a solid season with Indianapolis, as he built a 3.05 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over 40 games (41.1 innings). The 32-year-old has some MLB experience but last appeared in the show in 2012 while on the Giants. He'll likely be used by Pittsburgh in low-leverage situations.
Runzler was reassigned to minor league camp Thursday. Runzler owns a career 3.86 ERA in 72.1 innings, all with the Giants, but hasn't pitched in the majors since 2012. At least for the moment, the 31-year-old organizational depth reliever won't change that.
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