PORT CHARLOTTE — The vitriolic clash that disrupted White Sox camp over how much time Adam LaRoche's son could spend in the clubhouse shouldn't happen to the Rays.
After taking over last year, manager Kevin Cash and team leaders worked to develop a set of clubhouse rules, including a limit that male kids are welcome in the clubhouse until the end of batting practice, leaving a window for all personnel to focus on getting ready for the game. (Also, sons, brothers and fathers can come in after wins but not losses.)
"We tried to make it so that you have that time after BP to be spent preparing for the game," said veteran 3B Evan Longoria, who has a young son, Nash, he eventually plans to bring in. "Not only for yourself if it's your kid, but allowing the other guys to get prepared."
RHP Chris Archer, who doesn't yet have kids, said he also endorses their plan. "I like that there is structure," Archer said. "And we've had no problem with people following the rules."
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, now with the Mets, had his son, Meyer, around the most last year, OF David DeJesus his son, David, at times. Some of the coaches did, too.
In previous seasons, when the Rays had a less specific policy under manager Joe Maddon, Kyle Farnsworth, Johnny Damon and Troy Percival were among the players who had their sons in the clubhouse, but none so omnipresent as in Chicago with Drake LaRoche.
Noting that the Sox blowup seemed to stem from a lack of communication, or miscommunication, Longoria said that is a prime reason the Rays make sure their rules are clear before the season, "and we've done a great job in the past year." Longoria said Cash asked him last week if because of the Sox situation they should have a team meeting to clarify, but they decided things were good.
"It's a clubhouse to clubhouse thing," Longoria said, "and it's kind of the job of the guys in the clubhouse to police that."
DRESSED DOWN: The Rays made a significant change to their minor-league rules, dropping the long-standing mandate that minor-leaguers can't have facial hair and must wear their uniform pants pulled up over their calves.
"I think it was time," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "It's 2016."
Minor-leaguers can now have neatly trimmed facial hair ("Kevin Kiermaier-type beards, not like Grizzly Adams," Lukevics said) and wear their pants "long" like the major-leaguers.
The Rays have been one of the stricter teams with these rules in place, except for a failed 2006 slight change, since starting minor-league play in 1996. Lukevics said the change was a combination of practicality, as players sent up and down from the majors had to constantly adjust, and the overall good character of the current group.
RAYS RUMBLINGS: One question as the Rays head to Havana: How much more of a spectacle would the trip be if Maddon were still managing? A themed dress-up of fatigues? Or Guayaberas and linen pants? … Another example of how seriously Archer takes his craft: Concerned about Monday morning traffic getting to his start at Disney, he drove to Orlando the night before and got a hotel room. … What exactly was the point of starting Saturday's game with lightning and rain obvious? … With LaRoche supposedly retired, could the Sox have interest in displaced Rays 1B James Loney? … In a nod to a long-standing rumor, the Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa tweeted: "Future Tampa Bay Rays owner Derek Jeter will be joining the Tampa Bay Rays for their trip to Cuba."