SEATTLE — Even before Wednesday's game began, the Rays were feeling better about themselves.
First they found out they'd have centerfielder B.J. Upton back in the lineup.
Then they shut the doors of the Safeco Field clubhouse for a players-only meeting to talk out what had gone into their disappointing start.
"We just wanted to get together and basically reassess and remind ourselves that we just want to stay on our path, and that's it," first baseman Carlos Peña said.
As he did before Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and at other times, Peña called the meeting — "I just wanted to get the guys together," he said — but he wasn't the only one who spoke.
"We go around the room," Peña said. "And it's short; four minutes, three minutes. We're just looking at our mission statement, reviewing our mission statement."
The meeting may have been the result of manager Joe Maddon's message to the players Tuesday: "I walked around the whole field and talked to everybody individually and told them, 'Let's just play. … Just relax when you're coming off a "dig-me" week. Let's just get back to playing our game.' "
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.