PEORIA, Ariz. —
Emilio Pagan was optioned to Triple-A last March, two days before the start of the season.
He was recalled less than a month later and never went back down. He spent the final two months as the Tampa Bay Rays’ closer, finishing with a 2.31 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, ninth-lowest and second-lowest, respectively, among qualifying American League relievers.
He has lived the cliché, and sometimes that is what it takes.
It’s not the 25 men on the opening-day roster. Making the team out of spring training is just the beginning. Especially for a relief pitcher, it’s a long season.