Ramos excited by competition for 'pen

Ramos excited by competition for 'pen

Ramos excited by competition for 'pen
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Cesar Ramos led Rays left-handers with 59 appearances over two stints with the team last season.

Now he's hoping to earn a spot in this year's bullpen.

The Los Angeles native knows what he must improve on to earn his spot among a competitive group of relievers.

"I need to get ahead of the hitters early," Ramos said. "That was my biggest thing, ball one, strike one, maybe ball two, instead of strike one, strike two, which is what it needs to be. Just getting ahead in the count and giving me a chance to succeed."

Opposing batters hit .500 against Ramos when facing him with a 2-0 count and .440 after they had gotten ahead 2-0.

"I think it was just falling behind on certain hitters and trying to be too perfect against certain guys, just knowing they were big outs," said Ramos when asked about any difficulties he encountered last season. "I think mentally, I was just trying to be too perfect. And early on, it was, 'Get after it,' and after that I kind of started going into the other mindset. When I got recalled I went back to what worked and stayed aggressive. I felt like [I pitched better] the second time around."

Ramos finds himself in a tougher competition this spring than the previous spring, when many bullpen slots were open.

"It's a lot more competitive this year, but it's fun," Ramos said. "It's always nice to go out and compete against teammates and guys you're friends with. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out."

One thing Ramos knows is he can't sit around figuring out all the angles for making the team.

"It's hard, but [avoiding thoughts about who will make the team is] something you have to do, or you're going to drive yourself crazy," Ramos said. "You can't play GM. You can't do that. You just do what you can and control whatever you can. And that's what I'm doing now. Whatever happens, happens. Just perform and make it tough for them to make the decision."