Tampa Bay Rays Joe Maddon leaning toward a closer

10:31 AM, Feb 16, 2011   |    comments
Rays manager Joe Maddon has been banned from wearing his hoodie during ball games. Maddon is seen here wearing the now-banned pullover during a 2010 spring training game.
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Port Charlotte, FL-- With the Tampa Bay Rays' 14th Spring Training scheduled to officially open Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon has to rebuild his bullpen... and is leaning toward a closer-by-committee.

Last year's closer, American League-leader Rafael Soriano, signed with the Yankees.  Five other members of the AL's best bullpen, also left.

So, the Rays have brought in several fresh arms, to go with holdovers J.P. Howell and Andy Sonnanstine.  But a closer?

"I'm going into the season pretty much expecting to go committee-wise," said Rays' manager Joe Maddon on Tuesday.  "I'm not concerned with that, I'm just saying it's a different way, it's another way."

Despite all the pitching changes, and the loss of 3 everyday starters, Executive Vice President of Operations Andrew Friedman remains optimistic.

"We think we have an extremely talented core, that are very capable on both sides of the ball," said Andrew Friedman.  "They put us in a position to supplement around them, and give us a chance to be a really good team."


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