Roster Coming Into Focus

The Rays’ roster should be a lot more in focus, perhaps by this afternoon, as the numbers and names have been sufficiently whittled down.

After Elliot Johnson was told on Thursday that he did not make the team, that left Reid Brignac and Hank Blalock as the main combatants for the final roster spot, assuming that Sean Rodriguez is the lock he appears to be to make the team.

Johnson could be back at Triple-A Durham if he can slip through waivers, but Blalock isn’t likely won’t be in the organization if he doesn’t make the team. The veteran has an out in his contract that allows him to go elsewhere by today if he’s not in the Major Leagues and he’s said that he will not play in the Minor Leagues. Speculation is out there that the Rays are trying to convince him to take the Minor League deal.

Meanwhile, the final bullpen spot is down to right-handers Mike Ekstrom and Joaquin Benoit, or perhaps an as-yet-to-be-determined pitcher from another organization.

Joe Maddon said Thursday that they had a pretty good idea on the position player, but hinted that the final relief spot could linger until they set their roster by 3 p.m. on Sunday.

–Bill Chastain

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