Pruitt Makes Team, Two Others Don't

PORT CHARLOTTE (620 WDAE) -- For reliever Austin Pruitt, Thursday marked the culmination of years of struggle through the minor league levels to reach the pinnacle of the sport, as he was informed by the coaching staff that he had made the Opening Day roster.

"I'm definitely surprised," Pruitt said shortly after learning the news.  "This is an absolute dream come true."

For Pruitt, it's validation that a high school kid who did not get recruited by a Division I school and ended up having to attend junior college before playing through his senior season at the University of Houston, being drafted in the 9th round as a senior, and slogging through the minor leagues was all worth it.

"It's been a long journey, that's for sure," Pruitt said with welled eyes. "It's been fun every step of the way, ups and downs and everything.  It's all worth it, though."

For manager Kevin Cash, it was a great conversation to have.

"That's been probably the best conversation all spring," Cash remarked.  "It's been really exciting to watch him not knowing him [before], and then come in and compete the way he has.  [His] mound demeanor, stuff, everything really showed up well.  It's a great story, and it's going to continue to be a great story because he's going to help us in a lot of ways this season."

While Pruitt learned he would be introduced to the crowd at Tropicana Field April 2, pitchers Jaime Schulz and Chase Whitley learned they would start the year in Triple-A, as they were both optioned to Durham before Thursday's game.

Listen to Pruitt talking about making the team and manager Kevin cash on the other decisions and those yet to come below!

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