Three pitchers sent to Minor League camp

Three pitchers sent to Minor League camp

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Rays reassigned Chris Bootcheck, R.J. Swindle, and Mike Ekstrom to Minor League camp on Tuesday.

Manager Joe Maddon spoke highly of the relievers, particularly Bootcheck, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Yankees on Monday night, striking out two of the three hitters he faced.

"All three guys did well," Maddon said. "I really liked Boot last night. I thought he was really sharp. [Swindle's] 10 appearances during that short period of time shows you how resilient he is. Eck had a little bit of a problem, but his stuff is still high end. I impressed upon him to get into the flow of the game a little more quickly when he gets into the game, but his stuff is very good. We've got to thin things out, and we did. ... Those were the three guys we chose right now."

If Bootcheck is not on the Rays 25-man roster by July 1, he can be released upon his request.

"With Boot, he's doing some really good things right now and I like what he's doing," Maddon said. "I don't know this for sure, but I'd like to believe that his best shot is with us. One of the things that he and I talked about on the phone during the offseason was [that] even if it did not [make] the team in the beginning, [he said], 'I'm sure I'm going to be able to help you guys at some point during the season.' And I'm sure that's true. I like what he's doing. He's doing a couple of things differently, and I like it a lot."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.