Jeff Niemann will be in Tampa Bay's starting rotation and Wade Davis will work out of the bullpen to start the season, manager Joe Maddon says.
"We have confidence in both of those guys," Maddon said.
Davis has no career games as a reliever (a playoff game doesn't go on his career record), while Niemann has just eight relief appearances in his career. This spring, Davis has a 4.91 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, while Niemann has a 4.05 in 13 1/3, though Maddon said the decision was "not based primarily on spring training performance."
"Right now, we like the idea of Wade in the bullpen," Maddon said. "With these two, it's unusual to have that kind of quality involved in the decision-making process."
Davis will have an early-inning role, which "can get meatier," Maddon said.
"At the end of the day, we still consider him a starter," Maddon said. "It's not like you don't like Wade, but we have to make a decision. It's that close of a call because we think that much of both of these guys. ... We're going to try to make Wade into the best relief pitcher we possibly can."