Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Zobrist says Rays should be thinking World Series

PORT CHARLOTTE — As one of the Rays' most positive players, 2B Ben Zobrist says he always enters the season with high expectations.

But after reporting Tuesday, and seeing the impressive mix of familiar faces and new additions, Zobrist made it clear that everyone should be thinking big.

"We're going to work to win it all," Zobrist said. "I don't think anybody is going to be satisfied trying to get to the playoffs or squeaking in like we did last year. It's going to be a lot more dedicated drive to win the World Series instead of just winning in general."

Zobrist said he doesn't want to put any undue pressure on the rest of the team. But he pointed out that the Rays won't be facing any more than they already did at the end of last season, when they had to win multiple elimination games, including Game 163 against the Rangers, to reach the American League Division Series.

"We know what we're capable of," Zobrist said. "We want to believe something corporately that it's going to happen and kind of take the necessary steps to make it happen over the course of the season."

Zobrist, who figures he'll play mostly second base this season, is happy with how his offseason workouts went, saying "everything is falling into place."

"I feel really good," he said. "I feel healthy, strong. I feel like when I go out there and hit in the cage, I'm doing the things I want to do and it's coming easy right now."

MANY TOOLS: INF Logan Forsythe brought three gloves with him upon reporting and was relieved to find out in a meeting with manager Joe Maddon that he'll get to use them all.

Forsythe, 27, acquired from the Padres in a seven-player trade last month, can play middle infield and outfielder corners and will join Sean Rodriguez as platoon starters and in-game subs.

"Joe likes the versatility in certain guys and it's nice to take some stress out of it, knowing that's what I'm going to be used for," Forsythe said. "It's just a peace of mind."

Maddon said Forsythe made a favorable first impression in their meeting, calling him self-confident, self-aware and very precise. "His actual sheet that we put together is one of the more impressive sheets I could possibly read at the meetings regarding what he's capable of doing," Maddon said.

LIKE-MINDED: RHP Chris Archer felt good in his second bullpen session and enjoyed throwing to new C Ryan Hanigan. "To get out there and throw with him the first time was special, because he's worked with power arms who can also pitch over there with the Reds," Archer said. "So I'm going to use all his knowledge, and I think that having him is going to help me succeed because I'm going to have to do a lot less thinking, he's going to know how to attack batters."

MISCELLANY: C Eddy Rodriguez was back after getting sent home Monday due to an illness. … RHPs Juan Carlos Oviedo and Juan Sandoval missed their fourth workouts, delayed in their native Dominican Republic due to visa issues. … SS Yunel Escobar and INF Wilson Betemit are the only position players yet to report in advance of Thursday's first full-squad workout.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.

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