Veteran right-hander Dustin McGowan, who has been in camp with the Rays on a minor league contract, was informed by the team that he would not make the Opening Day roster and has been released, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin noted (on Twitter) that out of respect to McGowan, the organization offered him the chance to remain in camp and keep working out as he searched for a new opportunity with another organization, though he appears to have declined that offer.
McGowan, 36 later this month, spent the 2016-17 seasons with the Marlins, totaling 144 2/3 innings of 3.86 ERA ball and averaging 7.9 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 1.2 HR/9 with a 53 percent ground-ball rate along the way. A starter early in his career with the Blue Jays, McGowan has worked almost entirely out of the bullpen since 2013 — often tossing more than one inning per appearance — and logged a 4.08 ERA in 275 2/3 frames in that time. He’ll presumably look to latch on elsewhere, hoping another club will provide him a stronger opportunity to earn a roster spot.
[Related: Updated Tampa Bay Rays depth chart]
As for the Rays, they’re still trying to sort out who will fill the final few spots in their bullpen behind Alex Colome, Sergio Romo, Daniel Hudson and lefties Dan Jennings and Jose Alvarado. The 40-man roster presents numerous options, including Andrew Kittredge, Chaz Roe, Austin Pruitt, Ryne Stanek, Jaime Schultz and Diego Castillo. The Rays also have several left-handers with big league experience in camp as non-roster invitees: Jonny Venters, Vidal Nuno, Adam Kolarek and Dan Runzler.
While that’s a large group of candidates, the Rays look to be slowly narrowing the field. In addition to allowing McGowan to explore other opportunities, the Rays released veteran righty Evan Scribner earlier this afternoon. Like McGowan, Scribner had been in camp on a minor league deal.