PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tim Beckham headed a list of five players cut by the Rays on Sunday afternoon following the team's 8-4 loss to the Red Sox.
Beckham was reassigned to Minor League camp, while Matt Bush, Dane De La Rosa, Brandon Guyer and Stephen Vogt were optioned to Minor League camp.
Beckham, 22, was the top pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and has shown great improvement, according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"I was very impressed with him," Maddon said. "I believe he has Major League-caliber defense already. He's got to really work on his hitting a bit, and I'm not talking about mechanical stuff. He just needs to get more of a game plan from the plate perspective, understand how to attack pitchers better.
"And as he does that, he's going to be a big league ballplayer, because defensively, he's got a good idea on the bases, he really handles himself well as a person. I really believe he has Major League makeup. We just have to get his hitting in order, and that's going to take a little time."
Despite getting sent down, Beckham, who has been in Major League camp since 2009, can smell the big leagues.
"I feel close hitting," Beckham said. "I feel close at short. I feel [close] everywhere. ... I know I'm going to hit, I know the bat's going to come around. So I'm not worried about that at all."
Vogt being sent down narrowed the competition for the backup catcher's spot to Jose Lobaton and Chris Gimenez, with Robinson Chirinos still sitting out with a mild concussion.
Vogt opened eyes throughout camp with his offense, but he came up a little short defensively.
"We just have to work on his defense," Maddon said. "He's got to be able to catch more. Offensively, his bat is probably big league ready right now. We've got to make sure his defense is, too."