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Right-hander Silvino Bracho smiled briefly before his face turned serious again. He knows spring training is winding down, that roster decisions are looming, and all he needs to do is glance around him in the Diamondbacks clubhouse to see he’s one of the few remaining candidates for a bullpen job. But he’d rather not.

“I don’t want to think about that,” Bracho said. “It’s hard not to, but it is what it is. I’m healthy and if they want me on the roster, then I’m going to be good for Opening Day. If not, that’s OK, I have to keep my mind focused and do what I need to do.”

The early days of spring training are filled with carefree moments, a time without games, results or roster moves, a time when players are weeks from having to confront the realities of the business. For some players, however, the final days can be the opposite, filled with tension and dread as they wait to learn their fate.

The clubhouse at Salt River Fields had that feel on Monday as the Diamondbacks finished the home portion of their spring training schedule with a loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Players with jobs seemingly on the line said they had yet to be told whether they had made the team.

But a piece of roster news arrived on Monday evening with the announcement that the Diamondbacks had released veteran Gregor Blanco, who had been expected to make the club as a fourth outfielder.

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Blanco, 33, who spent the previous five seasons with the Giants, suffered an oblique strain late last week, an injury that Diamondbacks officials said complicated his chances to make the team.

Blanco, as an Article XX(b) free agent, had the option to become a free agent if he didn’t make the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster. As of Monday evening, it was unclear if Blanco requested his release or if the Diamondbacks just released him outright.

That would seem to be good news for Jeremy Hazelbaker’s chances. The only other healthy outfielder remaining in camp, he has gone just 10 for 50 (.200) in the Cactus League.

Hazelbaker, though, hit for power last year as a rookie with the Cardinals, slugging 12 homers in 200 at-bats. He also is a known entity to Hazen and his top assistants, who were together in Boston when the Red Sox drafted Hazelbaker in 2009.

More roster news is expected to arrive on Tuesday. Both right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa also have the ability to opt out of their contracts if they are told they aren’t making the team.

MORE: Complete Diamondbacks and MLB preview coverage

Wilhelmsen seems to be a lock, and his outing on Monday afternoon did nothing to change that. With a fastball up to 97 mph, he struck out Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Cameron Maybin in order. He’s allowed just one earned run in 9 1/3 innings this spring.

De La Rosa, the former Rockies starter, is less certain. He has exhibited a good fastball, reaching as high as 95 mph, but neither his strike-throwing nor his results have been consistent.

The bullpen appears to have five players locked in with jobs: closer Fernando Rodney, Wilhelmsen, J.J. Hoover, Archie Bradley and Randall Delgado. Assuming the team carries seven relievers, that would leave De La Rosa, Bracho, Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland competing for the final two spots.

Bracho, between a stint at the World Baseball Classic and downtime as he nursed a hamstring injury, has quietly put together an impressive spring, with five scoreless innings, with one hit, two walks and five strikeouts.

He was particularly eye-opening on Monday, as he tore through the Angels’ lineup in the eighth inning, striking out two and showing a lively fastball (93-95 mph) to go with a change-up and slider.

“After you see something like what he did today, it was certainly impressive enough for us to have a conversation about what we saw and see where it leads us from there,” Lovullo said. “It was a great outing.”

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Short hops

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa was reassigned to minor league camp on Monday morning, an anticipated move for a pitcher who is still working his way back from elbow problems that cost him most of last season.

De La Rosa, who has been throwing bullpen sessions since March 18, said he is two to three weeks away from pitching in a game environment, which likely means he is more than a month away from being a candidate to return to the majors. The club is bringing him back as a reliever.

*Salt River Fields surpassed the 300,000 mark in attendance on Monday afternoon, the seventh time in the facility’s seven years in existence it has done so. It will lead all two-team complexes in baseball in attendance this year, the Diamondbacks announced in a release. The facility also set a single-game record earlier this month, drawing 14,002 for a March 23 game between the Diamondbacks and Cubs.

*Also reassigned to minor league camp on Monday were catcher Hank Conger, outfielder Reymond Fuentes and infielder/outfielder Kristopher Negron.

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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