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03/29/07 9:01 PM ET

Devil Rays release reliever Miceli

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Devil Rays released veteran reliever Dan Miceli on Thursday.

The 36-year-old right-hander began Spring Training with a shot to become the team's closer or a setup man, but he did not pitch well (9.53 ERA) in the midst of a competitive camp for pitchers.

"We have determined that letting Dan go was in the best interests of the organization," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "We feel it is very important to break camp with the seven relievers that will give us the best chance to win games this year as well as in the future."

Miceli signed with the Rays as a free agent prior to the 2006 season and the club controled him through the 2008 season. In releasing the veteran, the Rays will have to pay his $650,000 guaranteed salary for 2007, in addition to a $200,000 buyout for the 2008 season, during which he would have earned $1 million.

"The biggest thing for us is finding the right combination of relievers and give them the requisite work this year and following years," Friedman said. "The money is somewhat irrelevant."

When asked specifically why they let him go, Friedman said: "He wasn't a great fit. Part of it was performance."

Miceli pitched in 33 games in 2006, despite spending half of the season on the disabled list. He went 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA and four saves.

Friedman said not to read too much into the move.

"I wouldn't say that this move is a prelude to anything except our decision to find the right combination of players to compete," Friedman said.

Throughout Spring Training, the Rays have said jobs would be earned and there would be no scholarships. Friedman was asked if Miceli's being released served as an example of that philosophy.

"This just speaks to the competition that we've created and is consistent with the messages we've given the players before spring," Friedman said.

By cutting Miceli, the Rays have cleared a spot on their 40-man roster, which could be filled by non-roster invitee Gary Glover, who has been impressive this spring.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.