After long trip, Raley set to seize opportunity

After long trip, Raley set to seize opportunity

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brooks Raley was all settled in and ready for Spring Training to start with the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.

He'd made the 16-hour drive from his home in College Station, Texas, and had been working out for a week at the Cubs' Spring Training complex, when he was called into the office on Feb. 12. It was there that the left-hander was told that he had been claimed off waivers by the Twins and would need to head to Florida to report on Feb. 16.

So Raley drove back to Texas and made it in time for the start of Spring Training with his new club, and he is excited about the fresh start.

"I feel like it's a good opportunity for me," Raley said. "It's a change of scenery, so I think it's for the best."

Raley, 25, made nine relief appearances with the Cubs last year, posting a 5.14 ERA with 14 strikeouts and eight walks in 14 innings. He was mostly used as a starting pitcher at Triple-A Iowa, making 25 starts and two relief appearances and posting a 4.46 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 45 walks in 141 1/3 innings.

He threw his second live bullpen session on Monday, and he mixed all of his pitches -- his two-seamer, four-seamer, changeup, slider and curveball. He said he still hasn't been told whether he'll be stretched out to start or work out of the bullpen, but is OK with either outcome.

"I feel like it's way too early for that," Raley said. "I just want to put myself in the best situation when they give me the ball and get outs. I've been a starter my whole career, but last year I had some success out of the bullpen. So I have no problem with either. I don't mind being a starter, I don't mind being a long reliever, and I don't mind being a left-handed specialist. Whatever they need."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.