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Maddon still getting feel for bullpen usage

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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have some new faces in the bullpen this season, including Heath Bell, Grant Balfour, and, to some degree, Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke.

Manager Joe Maddon noted that he will need about a month to figure out the pecking order of how he wants to use this year's group. The Rays manager is looking to gain a feel for the pen's usage based on several factors.

Maddon discussed some of the more important questions about his relievers.

"Resiliency and how quickly they come back," Maddon said. "Do you like them for four outs? Do they just need to be one inning? Do they lose any effectiveness on one-plus? How are they against the opposite side? Are they better against the opposite side? I know what the numbers say, but what's playing right now?

"If you bring them in, can they field their position at different moments? Do we stay away from them if there's a bunt [situation], like in the National League? There's all those different things."

Maddon stressed that resiliency would be the No. 1 factor and after that whether the pitcher is whether the situation demands a groundball pitcher or a flyball pitcher.

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

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