JUPITER, Fla. -- For weeks, Marlins officials talked about having to make tough roster decisions. The first round of difficult cuts came on Tuesday morning.
Three relievers were sent down, including hard-throwing right-hander Arquimedes Caminero. Officially, Caminero and Carter Capps were optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Chaz Roe was reassigned to Minor League camp.
Another tough yet expected decision was the release of veteran infielder Ty Wigginton, who was in camp as a non-roster invitee.
"Extremely tough calls," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "But it's a good thing for us that we have these types of decisions. In sending all three of them down, we feel like we're sending down three Major League-capable [pitchers]."
Outfielder Reed Johnson, a non-roster invitee, has been informed by the team that he has made the club.
Based on performance, sending Caminero to Triple-A New Orleans is surprising. In nine innings, the right-hander with a nasty slider gave up two runs, with nine strikeouts and one walk.
"Caminero, who has come through our system, has made tremendous strides," Hill said. "He has had a tremendous Spring Training. To look him in the eye and tell him that he is going down was a difficult conversation."
So why send Caminero down? He has one more option year remaining. The aim of the organization is to retain as many quality players as possible. Caminero was caught in that system, as was Capps, who has two option years left.
Roe didn't have an out clause, so he will open the season at New Orleans.
"It's tough," Caminero said. "I've got to go down and work hard. I did nothing wrong. That was a tough decision for them. That's what they said. I have to keep working."
Had Caminero remained with the big league club, his role would have been in the sixth or seventh innings. Now, with New Orleans, he will be either closing or in a setup role.
"I'm just going to keep working and do what I have to do, and let them decide what happens," Caminero said.
"Slowey is consistent," manager Mike Redmond said. "We know what we're getting in him. He can do a lot of different things. He's the perfect long guy, he really is. He can go out there and throw four or five innings. He can throw one inning.
"[Slowey] can do a lot of different things. He's been around long enough. He's a guy you can sit down there for a few days and not pitch him, and put him into any situation. He's definitely equipped for that type of role."
Miami has 34 players in camp now, with 14 pitchers vying for two more spots.
Capps was acquired from the Mariners for Logan Morrison last December. Another hard-throwing right-hander, Capps has been working on tweaking his delivery. Now, he gets to work on his mechanics at New Orleans.
The Caminero move is a reminder that not all moves are based on putting together the "best 25" players on the Opening Day roster based on Spring Training performance. If it were, it would have been hard to overlook Caminero's eye-opening 0.44 WHIP.
Rodriguez is an extremely hard thrower who has reached 101 mph already this spring. However, he has a history of being wild. His command has improved in Spring Training, but he's also been hit around. On Sunday, for instance, Rodriguez allowed a game-tying three-run homer against the Tigers. Miami went on to win the game.
The Marlins need to decide if Rodriguez's stuff can be harnessed enough to make him effective. If he makes the club and it doesn't pan out, Caminero is an option down the road.