He is always smiling, always happy. For Erasmo Ramirez, every day is a good one.
Even this one, when he is headed to the bullpen of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays have announced they will open their season with a four-man rotation, made possible because of an abundance of off-days (eight in the first seven weeks). Ramirez, 11-6 a year ago in 27 starts, will help to fill the void left by Brad Boxberger‘s injury.
“He’s going to the bullpen to get big outs,” manager Kevin Cash said.
“He might pitch in the seventh with a one-run lead. He might pitch in the ninth with a one-run lead.”
“He understood it’s a very important role,” Cash said. “We’re not asking him to go to the bullpen and wait your turn. We’re asking him to go to the bullpen and pick us up, because Box went down and we need help.”
Ramirez sounded positive about the move, although it is a new one for him. In his history in the big leagues, he has never pitched in high leverage situations.
“I just go execute, and no matter what situation in the game it is. I just want the chance to compete,” Ramirez said. “That’s what I’m looking for, and they gave me the chance from the bullpen, starting, I don’t care. I just want to go there and help the team.
“They’re going to let me know what day I have my chance to start and (until) that time I’ll just be in the bullpen doing my best, and whatever situation it is, I just want to go and execute pitches. That’s my point and wait for my chance, whenever it is.”