Guyer 'excited' to make first Opening Day roster
Veterans Nix, Betemit, Lowe informed they won't break camp with Rays
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays on Tuesday told outfielder Brandon Guyer he'd made the team, while also telling infielders Jayson Nix and Wilson Betemit and right-hander Mark Lowe that they would not be on the Opening Day roster.
"We did talk to Nix, Lowe and Betemit as to our intentions right now," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Those kind of things can change. And if they do change, something may happen where they get to stay with us, which would be wonderful because all three of those guys fit in here extremely well."
Maddon explained that out of respect for the troika of veterans, the Rays are allowing them to see if they can find a Major League job elsewhere and if they can't, they are welcome at Triple-A Durham.
Betemit was the only one of the three around after the announcement. He said if another club doesn't come forth with a Major League deal, he wants to stay in the Tampa Bay organization, even if it means a trip to the Minor Leagues.
Guyer is out of options, but Maddon made the team's decision sound more like a matter of liking what the 28-year-old outfielder could do and less about the team being worried about losing him. Through Tuesday's game, Guyer was hitting .289 with three doubles and one RBI this spring.
"You haven't seen a lot here, but we really like what [Guyer has] done in Triple-A, combination of skill and the metrics that are behind him indicate this guy should be a pretty good baseball player," Maddon said. "So we decided to keep him."
Guyer could not suppress a smile when talking to reporters.
"I'm really excited for the opportunity," Guyer said. "I've worked my whole life to try and make an Opening Day roster and be up here. ... Now the hard work starts. I have to keep grinding and doing everything I can to help the team win."
Tuesday's news means the Rays have just one decision remaining, and that's about the final two spots in the bullpen. With Lowe out of the picture, Brandon Gomes, Josh Lueke and Juan Carlos Oviedo are the remaining candidates.
Lueke appears to be a lock as the right-hander is out of options, while Gomes seems to have a good shot, even though he still has an option. That possibility has a pulse based on the fact that Oviedo arrived to camp late due to visa problems. Though Oviedo is healthy, the Dominican right-hander has not pitched in a game since September 2011 due to Tommy John surgery.
The Rays also returned infielder Ray Olmedo and catcher Mayo Acosta to Minor League camp.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.