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Rays demote former No. 1 picks Matt Bush and Tim Beckham

Mar 18, 2012, 8:10 PM EDT

Tim Beckham, Joe Benson AP

It’s not every day a team sends down two former No. 1 draft picks.

Reliever Matt Bush, the first overall selection in the 2004 draft, and shortstop Tim Beckham, the first pick in 2008, were both demoted as part of the Rays’ roster cuts on Sunday.

Both moves were expected. The more surprising demotion was that of outfielder Brandon Guyer, who looked like he had a shot at a bench spot before going 4-for-25 with no extra-base hits or walks in Grapefruit League play.

Bush, a shortstop when he was drafted first by the Padres eight years ago, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings this spring. Unfortunately, he put himself into a hole before the exhibition season even started. In an intrasquad game, he threw the pitch that left Evan Longoria with a badly bruised hand and knocked the All-Star out of competition for two weeks.

Beckham didn’t impress. He was 1-for-24 with eight strikeouts and one walk in camp.

Both players are expected to open the season at Triple-A Durham, Beckham as the team’s regular shortstop. Bush will probably work in a setup role.

The Rays’ other notable cut today was reliever Dane De La Rosa. He was demoted despite striking out 11 in 5 2/3 scoreless innings this spring.

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