Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

More relaxed Kevin Cash prepares to set tone for Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE — Manager Kevin Cash admitted he was nervous last year when he gave his introductory speech before the Rays' first full-squad workout.

He spent weeks practicing — even logging rehearsals in his car — before speaking for six concise minutes to the first team he would ever manage.

When Cash addresses the full team today at the start of his second season, he probably won't be as nervous. But the message is no less important.

"It will be just a different tone," Cash said. "We don't change the way we feel about the game. We care about the same things, the same principles, but it is more comforting to be looking into a group you have relationships with rather than looking out there and not knowing a lot of the faces."

Cash declined to give a preview of his speech but said he was going over three sets of notes — two from last spring and one at the end of last year — to condense them. He already has a list of who else will be speaking to make sure he doesn't forget anyone.

"You have to," Cash said. "If you don't, you can find yourself rambling on and on."

ALL PRESENT: Nonroster INF Juniel Querecuto reported to camp Thursday, meaning all 64 players are present before today's workout.

With the full squad present for the first time, SS Brad Miller said he likes the environment and chemistry of his new team.

"I think there's a really good energy," Miller said. "I think the biggest thing is everybody seems hungry. Everybody seems excited. We had a lot of guys here early to get out here. I think that's what's exciting the most. Everybody's ready."

LIGHT DAY: In advance of the full workout, pitchers and catchers had a light day Thursday before the spring training routine kicks in. Pitchers played catch, and catchers threw to the bases, while position players didn't work out. Aside from photo day, pitchers had another key item on their agenda: a meeting with pitching coach Jim Hickey.

"It's more of a message of how we like to go about our thought process as a pitching staff," Cash said. "The goals, not statistical goals, but what we're trying to accomplish and the build-up process, things that we need to look to work on, to improve on, things that we need to maintain. It'll be a little bit of a review from last year and also going into this camp, these are some of the thought processes."

Cash said the meeting also helps foster communication between pitchers and catchers.

EASING IN: Don't expect a lot of intense action during today's full workout. Cash said position players will ease into drills, just as pitchers did, so the team won't be practicing pickoffs or run-downs immediately. "We're going to work into some things, and then we'll intensify," Cash said. The Rays plan to participate in live batting practice; RHP Chris Archer, LHP Drew Smyly and top LHP prospect Blake Snell are among the pitchers scheduled to throw.

MISCELLANY: The team will hold a special event Sunday for spring training season ticket holders. After the 9:30 a.m. workout, broadcasters Dave Wills and Andy Freed will host a Q&A with CF Kevin Kiermaier, INF Logan Forsythe, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Danny Farquhar and C Hank Conger. … Players will have their annual meeting with the Major League Baseball Players Association after workouts today. One scheduled topic: next month's planned trip to Cuba, which has not been formally announced.

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