A Healthy Pitching Staff Gives The Tampa Bay Rays New Life

Scott BirchfieldCorrespondent IJune 27, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 13: Pitcher Scott Kazmir #19 of the Tampa Bay Rays starts against the New York Yankees on April 13, 2009 at Tropicana Field  in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

So far this season, the Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff has looked more like a M.A.S.H unit. Even though there are still pitchers on the disabled list, there are reasons for hope in St. Petersburg. Here are some reasons why the Rays' pitchers will help the Rays contend during the second half of the season:

 

1. Scott Kazmir's return from the D.L.

Although he was pitching terribly before he went on the disabled list, Kazmir's return is a welcomed sight. He is a veteran pitcher who knows how to pitch. With his injury troubles behind him, look for Kazmir's return to boost the rest of the starting rotation.

 

2. Chad Bradford's return from the D.L.

Bradford was a key player in the Rays stretch run of 2008. He should help solidify an already impressive bullpen. All they need is an established closer.

 

3. Andy Sonnanstine's demotion

Although he is a good team player and had a pretty good 2008 season, Sonnanstine just wasn't getting it done. The team made the right decision by keeping Jeff Niemann in the rotation.

Sonnanstine has more experience, but Niemann has been pitching consistently all year long. Hopefully, Sonnanstine will work out his problems and help the team down the road or latch on to another team in the near future.

 

4. Keeping David Price in the rotation

David Price has been pitching well since his call-up from the minors. He is still learning, but I think a return to the minors would've been horrible for his confidence.

Now that he has been in the rotation for a few weeks now, look for Price to get better and better each start. The Rays will be grateful for it.

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