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Cash's introductory speech big hit with Rays

Rays manager Kevin Cash, left, makes a strong positive impression on his players during the inaugural speech of his first full-squad workout, emphasizing a team concept and getting it all in in about six minutes.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, left, makes a strong positive impression on his players during the inaugural speech of his first full-squad workout, emphasizing a team concept and getting it all in in about six minutes.
Published Mar. 1, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE — New Rays manager Kevin Cash had been practicing for weeks and was nervous right up to the start as he delivered his introductory speech before Saturday's first full-squad workout, stressing the concept of team above anything else.

"Today was the first day that we kind of start with creating the identity of our club a little bit," Cash said. "We're all very big on 'teammates' and the concept of being a good teammate."

The barely six-minute address, a change from the colorful orations of previous manager Joe Maddon, was well received.

"Compact and powerful," baseball operations president Matt Silverman said.

"It was as good as it gets," 3B Evan Longoria said. "Concise. To the point. I think it conveyed who he is as a person and what he's trying to achieve overall, which is basically just win, get to know the guys and go out and work hard every day. And that's going to be our motto, and that's how we're going to do things.

"It was refreshing to hear him speak for the first time to the team and to see what he had to say, and I love all of it. I saw a lot of heads nodding in approval, and that said it all to me."

RHP Alex Cobb said he was struck by how Cash stressed they are all in this together.

"It was very impactful," Cobb said. "It was a stern way he put it that we're going to have each other's back and we're not backing down from anything. It was almost like an underdog type of speech, and I think we're embracing that type of role."

Cash said he would meet with several veteran players and get their input before deciding on clubhouse and travel rules.

The only rule he put in place immediately was that players have to wear their batting practice jerseys, with their name and number on the back, the next few days. "That's so he can get to know their names better," Silverman said.

BELISARIO SIDELINED: The Rays had their first setback, and first entry on the list of odd spring injuries, with news that nonroster RHP Ronald Belisario fractured his left shoulder getting out of the pool in his home in Venezuela.

Belisario told team officials the accident happened a month ago — before he signed, with a $1.5 million salary if he makes the big-league team — but he didn't have it checked out until reporting to camp. He did not speak to reporters Saturday.

Belisario won't throw or even go on the field for at least two weeks, and he likely won't be ready to start the season. "He's ready to rehab and get back as soon as possible," Silverman said.

Belisario seemed to have a decent shot to win a spot in the bullpen as a ground-ball specialist. The competition for the one or two vacancies now "will be even more fierce amongst a smaller group," Silverman said.

MORE PITCHING: Silverman said RHP Alex Colome should "hopefully" have his visa issues resolved this week; Colome has been throwing on schedule at the team's complex in the Dominican Republic. … RHP Grant Balfour remained in Australia attending to his ailing father, David.

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ON-FIELD ACTION: Popup drills got off to a rough start when Longoria, who is listed at 210 pounds, collided with 1B Juan Francisco, who weighs considerably more. "Luckily, we escaped it okay," Longoria said. "Next time I'll go the other way. I'm not going to run into him again." … Cobb, the likely opening day starter, was pleased with what he did and how he felt in the first live batting practice, welcoming the chance to face hitters after weeks of bullpen sessions: "It makes you focus a lot more." … Cash said nonroster LHP Robert Zarate "stood out a little bit" and also was impressed with what he saw from LHP Enny Romero and RHPs Steve Geltz, Nathan Karns and Kevin Jepsen.

MISCELLANY: The crowd for the first full-squad workout and Fan Day was estimated in excess of 1,100. … Minor-league C Maxx Tissenbaum joined the team for the workout. C Nick Ciuffo was slated to get a chance today.

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