PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays manager Kevin Cash started his annual spring opening address to the team with acknowledgements and introductions, running through 30-plus executives, officials and staff at assorted levels.
And then he introduced his primary topics for the camp, in what sounded like a civics lesson, and all in no more than about three minutes.
One, he said, was to remind the team to be remain open-minded.
“We’ve put a lot of people in place with different thoughts,’’ he said. “Stay open-minded. Our guys do such a good job with that. … There are so many things that this industry (now has) — different methods of teaching and training. … It’s on us as a staff to help assist the players to be open to learning about some of those things. Different technologies, different drills.’’
Another, to play nice with others.
“Just remind them the quality of being a good teammate,’’ Cash said.
And to be realistic in their goals.
“Try to simplify expectations, to just improving and winning,’’ he said. “But keep it simple.’’
Veteran Kevin Kiermaier said Cash came across well:
“Easy. Simple. Stuff we already know. Hey, go be a good teammate, let’s handle our business, let’s win ballgames. He was brief about it, but spot-on.
“In years past I’ve said a few things when everyone’s done to kind of get guys amped up, but I always say there’s a time and a place for that. … You look around the room, everyone is just ready to go, so I didn’t feel like I needed to say anything. I don’t ever talk to be heard, I will say that.’’
Before a crowd of team executives and dozens of reporters, minor-league right-hander Ryan Thompson found himself in the spotlight, throwing the first round of live batting practice to a group that included Rays stars Austin Meadows and Kiermaier, and high-profile newcomers Jose Martinez and Yoshi Tsutsugo.
Once the hitters saw that Thompson, who spent most of last season at Double A, is 6 feet 5 and throws sidearm, they joked it was too much of a first-day challenge and showed it as all of his pitches were taken except for Kiermaier taking one swing.
“It was pretty funny to hear their reaction,’’ Thompson said. “(Triple-A pitching coach Rick Knapp) called it — he said they’re about to get pissed that the first guy is a weirdo like you. … I was excited. I got to face some of the guys I’ve been watching on TV, so that was pretty cool.’’
The Rays have their second full-squad workout Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road), with Tyler Glasnow, Diego Castillo and Yonny Chirinos among the pitchers throwing live batting practice. … Lefty Ryan Yarbrough switched agents, from Jim Munsey to Excel Sports Management, working with Victor Menocal and Casey Close. … Cash said reliever Pete Fairbanks stood out among the pitchers throwing bullpen sessions, and he also noted the work of minor-leaguer Tyler Zombro.