Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/11/12

Right-hander Wade Davis still considers himself a starter, and the Tampa Bay Rays believe that's his future.

But for right now, Davis is thriving in his first full season as a reliever, boasting a 2.20 ERA while getting used in some high-leverage moments. A key reason for the success is how quickly Davis accepted the new role since spring training, when he lost out on the fifth-starter competition with Jeff Niemann.

Manager Joe Maddon believed the team would be better with Davis used out of the bullpen, and the 26-year-old unselfishly bought in right away. And Maddon said Davis has never been more dominant than he was Thursday night in New York, when he struck out four of six Yankees he faced in a perfect two-inning outing.

"That was as good as you're going to see a relief pitcher throw," Maddon said. "I don't care if you're a closer, setup guy, whatever -- that was outstanding. Anybody that comes out like he did in Yankee Stadium against that part of the lineup and throws like that can pitch anytime, anywhere."

Davis said there's been some adjustments, but his body is responding better, allowing him to work on back-to-back games twice. He has 11 multiple-inning appearances. He's leaned on help from fellow relievers, many of whom had to make a similar transition in their career, and said he's having fun, believing this experience will only help him become more valuable -- and a better starter -- in the future.

"I didn't have any trouble with it," Davis said. "Yes, starting is what I want to do, I want to excel as much as I can in anything I do. But I'm not hurt about it, I'm not frustrated about it. I'm still pitching in the big leagues. I still want to be part of a team that's going to win. It was easy for me for some reason."

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