On the morning he was optioned to Triple-A Durham, pitcher Brandon Gomes took a minute to consider the Bulls' roster heading into this season.

Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Juan Sandoval, Josh Lueke and himself on the staff. Chris Gimenez, Shelley Duncan, Leslie Anderson, Mike Fontenot, Cole Figueroa, Jason Bourgeois and Rich Thompson among those available for the everyday lineup.

“We're going to be loaded,” Gomes said. “That lineup is stacked.”

Good for Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo.

And good for the Tampa Bay Rays, too.

“We sent some major-league players back to Triple-A this time,” manager Joe Maddon said on Thursday before the Rays' game against the Orioles. “That's not so good for them and good for us.”

That may not have been the case last spring, because when injuries hit hard last season, the Rays didn't always dip into the Bulls' roster.

“Our depth going back to last year, when we needed depth, we really didn't have it,” Maddon said. “We had to go outside the organization midseason to find guys that we felt good about. We believe this year if anything were to happen, we have the guys in tow.”

Pitching depth was not a problem. The Rays had Alex Cobb, Cesar Ramos, Gomes and Archer on call, and each contributed to the 90-win season.

It was on the position side where things broke down.

Evan Longoria's partially torn hamstring, Jeff Keppinger's broken toe and Desmond Jennings' sprained knee started the search outside the organization that netted the likes of Thompson, Brooks Conrad, Drew Sutton, Brandon Allen and Ben Francisco.

The Rays also signed Hideki Matsui to add a professional bat to the bench, but that move didn't work out. Neither did many of the others, though Allen did win a pair of games with a bases-loaded walk one night against the Los Angeles Angels and a walk-off, pinch-hit home run against them the following afternoon.