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Rays send Erasmo Ramirez to bullpen, plan 4-man rotation

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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.”

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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