So the thinking is if Jackson doesn't win the competition for the fifth spot, he'd likely head to the Rays' bullpen. However, Howell is more likely to head to Durham if he doesn't claim the spot."Yes, it would be unfair to him [to be put in the bullpen] I think, in a sense, because he has predominantly been a starter," Maddon said. "And if you just ask the guy out of the blue just to become a relief pitcher, I don't think it's appropriate without giving him some kind of chance to develop that in the Minor Leagues. If it's a guy who has done it in the past and you want to pop him out there, that's different. ... I wouldn't want to just do that to J.P., you'd almost be setting him up for failure by doing something like that." So the decision makers will meet, discuss, examine cause and effect and eventually spit out a decision on who gets the job. "We'll see. We're still debating all those kind of issues," Maddon said. "Again, I just love [Howell]. I love his makeup. He's such a battler. He's going to be the anomaly guy, where he doesn't have to throw 90 to get people out. Again, I'm not sure about any of that. The coaching staff, [executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew [Friedman], the whole front office, we're all talking about this." Because the Rays have a day off after Opening Day, they are likely to run out their first four pitchers, starting with No. 1 Scott Kazmir, then repeat those four again before the No. 5 starter makes his first start of the season. The identity of the pitcher who will take the mound in Texas remains to be seen. Up next: The Rays travel to Dunedin on Tuesday for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Blue Jays. Left-hander Casey Fossum will start for the Rays and will be followed by right-handers Shawn Camp, Dan Miceli, Al Reyes and Gary Glover. Reyes' performance will be of note since it will be the first time the veteran will pitch on back-to-back days this spring. Right-hander Geremi Gonzalez will start for the Blue Jays.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.