The Rays narrowed the field for jobs in their eight-man bullpen, optioning newly acquired LHP Anthony Banda and hard-throwing RHP Ryne Stanek to Triple-A.
Those moves were part of a hefty Sunday morning cut as the Rays reassigned seven others to reduce their roster to 36, which is really 35 since it includes RHP Jose De Leon, who is headed to the 60-day DL following Tommy John surgery.
Also reassigned to the minors were pitchers LHP Kyle Bird, RHP Ian Gibaut, RHP Cody Hall, LHP Adam Kolarek and RHP Colton Murray, plus Cs Xorge Carrillo and Johnny Monell.
Banda, 24, had the best chance to make the team as one of the four multi-inning relievers they plan to carry to support their four-man rotation plans. He didn't show much since his Feb. 20 acquisition, working just six spring innings over four games, allowing four hits and five walks to 28 batters.
Banda was acquired in the Steven Souza Jr. trade earlier this spring in from Arizona, where he pitched in eight big-league games last year, making four starts.
With Banda out of the mix, the candidates for the long relief jobs are RH Matt Andriese, RH Yonny Chirinos, RH Andrew Kittredge, RH Autin Pruitt and LH Ryan Yarbrough. The Rays are also considering using LH Dan Jennings, primarily a short reliever, in that role.
Stanek made 21 appearances over three stints for the Rays last season, but the same inconsistency and inability to throw strikes showed up again this spring, hurting his chances for a short relief job. The Rays seem set on carrying Alex Colome, Sergio Romo, Chaz Roe and either Jose Alvarado or Jennings.
The Rays have to cut down to 25 players for the March 29 opener.