Of the 44 pitchers and catchers invited, 43 report to Wednesday's practice

PORT CHARLOTTE

The Tampa Bay Rays opened their 21st spring training camp and 10th in Port Charlotte on Wednesday at the Charlotte Sports Park complex.

Of the 44 pitchers and catchers invited to major league spring training, 43 reported. Only C Jesus Sucre (visa issues) is delayed.

Throwing their first bullpen sessions were RH Matt Andriese, RH Jake Faria, RH Brent Honeywell, LH Dan Jennings, RH Austin Pruitt, LH Blake Snell and LH Jonny Venters.

In addition, 17 of the 24 position players already are in camp with SS Adeiny Hechavarria, CF Kevin Kiermaier, 1B/OF Joe McCarthy, INF Brad Miller, OF Denard Span, INF Andrew Velazquez and OF Justin Williams missing.

The team made the signing of RH reliever Sergio Romo official. Romo, who went 2-0 with a 1.47 earned run average in 25 appearances with the team after being acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, received a 1-year, $2.5 million contract.

To make room on the 40-man roster, INF/OF Micah Johnson was optioned to Triple A Durham, but will remain in major league camp.

QUOTABLE

Manager Kevin Cash

“It was good to get out there. We’ve been out here for about a week or so now, but to see about half the guys get off the mound, it was good. I really like how the new drills went. Saw some early intensities, some laughing and screaming. That always makes it fun.

It’s very easy for it to get dull here once you go into about 10 days of this so we are going to try to do a couple things to mix it up. I like the way the guys went about their business.”

On the starting rotation’s depth: “We feel we are pretty deep. We have to get through six weeks and stay healthy, but we do feel that we have some talented arms that are on the big league club and talented arms who are coming.”

RH Jake Faria

On the young arms fighting for a spot in the rotation: “It’s going to make us better. Knowing that there is going to be guys scratching at the surface, knocking on the door. They are right there. Honeywell is chomping at the bit and rightfully so. He’s got good stuff. It’s exciting and it’s going to push us to be better.”

On the confidence of the pitching staff: “I don’t know if anyone on the staff really lacks any confidence. ... Everybody is pretty confident going into the year, pretty excited. I think it’s going to be a good year.”