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Ramos honing arsenal in relief role


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Cesar Ramos has a good chance to make this year's team, most likely in the bullpen.

The left-hander started, for the most part, while in the Padres' organization, but he has spent most of his time with the Rays as a reliever. Many times when a starter becomes a reliever, he will narrow down his repertoire of pitches. Ramos did not. He continued to use all of his options, which includes a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup.

"I kept all of my pitches," Ramos said. "But when I started last year, I was throwing a lot more of everything. Sometimes when you come out of the bullpen for an inning, you really don't have a chance to use all four. It was tough sometimes to know I have the other pitches and what to pick from.

"This last year [I said I was] going to go out there with two or three pitches and see what I can do with it rather than trying to force all four pitches and maybe falling behind trying to throw a pitch I shouldn't throw at that time."

Ramos, 28, could serve as the team's long man in the bullpen. He also could fill the role left behind by left-hander J.P. Howell's departure. In 95 Major League games accrued over parts of three seasons, Ramos is 1-3 with a 3.91 ERA.

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