Cash's learning curve helped along by peers

Rays manager is one of many 30-somethings at the helm of sports teams

Cash's learning curve helped along by peers

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Once upon a time, Rays manager Kevin Cash was seen as a rarity -- a man in his 30s leading a pro franchise -- but these days, it has become more common across the sporting landscape.

The Padres have a 39-year-old manager in Andy Green, who is just six months older than Cash. The NFL's Los Angeles Rams hired Sean McVay at 31. And then of course there's Tyronn Lue, who at 39 years old coached the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA Championship.

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Mike Nabors is a contributor for MLB.com based in Tampa Bay. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays' prospect Stanek on cusp of a dream

Rays' prospect Stanek on cusp of a dream

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Since he was taken by the Rays in the first round of the 2013 Draft, Ryne Stanek has bided his time in the Minors and waited for his break. This spring, it appears the wait may nearly be over.

"It's been a long road," he said. "[I] definitely had to be patient."

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Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com based in Tampa Bay. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longoria returns to camp after 2 days of illness

Longoria returns to camp after 2 days of illness

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After missing two days of workouts with a bug, Evan Longoria was back with the Rays on Wednesday.

"Rough couple of days," Longoria said. "I feel much, much better today. Just fever and aches. Couldn't kick it. Last night was a sweat bucket, but I finally got it out of my system.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lo-Mo takes pride in being the boom in the room

Lo-Mo takes pride in being the boom in the room

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The silence inside the Rays' clubhouse was broken this month when the Rays decided to bring back Logan Morrison for another season.

That's because there's no such thing as a quiet clubhouse with Lo-Mo in it.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Next step for Kiermaier: Upping his offense

Next step for Kiermaier: Upping his offense

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Defense has always been a priority for Kevin Kiermaier.

And the Rays center fielder has elevated the way the position is played. He won Gold and Platinum Glove Awards for his work in 2015, and also won a Gold Glove Award in 2016 -- despite playing in just 105 games due to injuries.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Before and after: Colby Rasmus' Photo Day beard

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Before and after: Colby Rasmus' Photo Day beard

Photo Day is fantastic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it chronicles key facial hair decisions. 

Could you say that his beard makes Rasmus look like he takes a horse and buggy to work? Sure! But you may have missed your opportunity, because it looks like Rasmus has already made some changes

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Beckham working in OF to boost versatility

Infielder embracing opportunity at Spring Training, hopes to land spot on 25-man roster

Beckham working in OF to boost versatility

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- George Hendrick used to tease Tim Beckham about getting an outfield glove.

Hendrick, who was the Rays' outfield coach, had been an outfielder, and he liked to stir things up. Beckham was the perfect target for his game.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash feels 'very good' about Rays' catchers

Wieters off market, but Tampa Bay's manager confident in team's backstops

Cash feels 'very good' about Rays' catchers

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Wieters agreed to a deal with the Nationals on Tuesday, thereby ending any speculation that the Rays might sign the veteran catcher.

That leaves Tampa Bay's catching in the hands of Curt Casali, Luke Maile, Jesus Sucre and, once he's healthy, Wilson Ramos.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Super utility: Uber on Franklin's resume

Rays player has been driver for past two offseasons

Super utility: Uber on Franklin's resume

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- You're taking Uber to the airport, and the driver looks familiar. Finally, it comes to you: Nick Franklin.

No way. Why would the Rays utility man be driving Uber?

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash happy with results from early camp drills

Cobb tosses live batting practice as fielders hone popup skills

Cash happy with results from early camp drills

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Alex Cobb threw live batting practice on Monday, and the right-hander told reporters, "It was a good day."

"There weren't too many hitters, I had a lot of injured guys in my group who were kind of just tracking," Cobb said. "I had Brad Miller, who was swinging, and he swung often, thankfully [which allowed Cobb to see how a hitter reacted to his pitches]. But it was good.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glove at first sight: Rays rejoice on Glove Day

Players talk preferences as they receive mitts for upcoming campaign

Glove at first sight: Rays rejoice on Glove Day

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Christmas in March.

Such was the feeling early Monday morning when Wilson showed up to deliver gloves to Rays players for the coming season.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Club prez Auld: Rays positioned well for 2017

Club prez Auld: Rays positioned well for 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- As America celebrates Presidents Day, Rays president Brian Auld sent along the following message to his constituents, the fans of the Rays:

"As you get ready for an exciting season of Rays baseball kicking off with Opening Day on April 2, keep these three things in mind:

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mallex Smith could be latest player to wear No. 0

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Mallex Smith could be latest player to wear No. 0

Mallex Smith made news this offseason as he may have set the record for shortest time on a Mariners roster. Seventy-seven minutes after Jerry Dipoto acquired him from the Braves, he was traded again -- this time to the Rays as part of the package for Drew Smyly. 

The number of those trades are also two higher than his new uniform number with the Rays: Zero.

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Archer: Rays should be 'well-rounded'

Right-hander believes club has potential to reach next level

Archer: Rays should be 'well-rounded'

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer doesn't like looking in the rearview mirror. A proactive approach better suits the Rays' right-hander, so his eyes are constantly looking forward.

But Archer did manage to have a sense of humor about the 2016 season.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash after first workout: 'We're in a good spot'

Cash after first workout: 'We're in a good spot'

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- On Sunday morning, the Rays held their first full-squad workout, affording Kevin Cash the opportunity to make his remarks to the team about the coming season. The Rays' manager said that his message might have lasted 90 seconds, but it was clear nonetheless.

"We really believe in the guys that are in this room," Cash said.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miller sticking to second base at camp

Infielder used to changing positions, but anticipating stability in 2017

Miller sticking to second base at camp

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller has moved around a lot during his four Major League seasons.

Miller played shortstop for the Rays during the first half of the 2016 season. But when shortstop Matt Duffy came over in a trade with the Giants, Miller was relegated to first base. Prior to joining the Rays, he'd played shortstop, third base, center field, left field and second base for the Mariners.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Souza: 'I'm my biggest critic'

Outfielder working to improve consistency at Spring Training

Souza: 'I'm my biggest critic'

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Maybe no player on the Rays is harder on himself than projected starting right fielder Steven Souza Jr., who enters his third season with the club knowing he has to dial it back.

"I'm my biggest critic," Souza admits. "I know what my flaws are, and I try to improve them every year. For me, it's just consistency, trying to find avenues to explore that and be consistent day in and day out."

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Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longo shortens swing, grows beard for spring

Longo shortens swing, grows beard for spring

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The face of the franchise has a different face this spring.

Evan Longoria reported to Rays camp looking more like Paul Bunyan with a full-blown beard, admitting he ditched his razor shortly after saying goodbye to the 2016 season.

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Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ping-pong table sparks clubhouse camaraderie

Ping-pong table sparks clubhouse camaraderie

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Atlanta Falcons may have lost the Super Bowl, but they helped deliver the Rays a brand new addition to their clubhouse this spring: a ping-pong table.

"[The Falcons] brought in a ping-pong table, and then all of a sudden, they ended up ordering five because it became such a good [time]. The guys were having fun kidding around with each other, " manager Kevin Cash said.

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Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Weeks offers young Rays veteran leadership

Reserve player in camp on Minors deal

Weeks offers young Rays veteran leadership

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rickie Weeks Jr. is old school. And that's not a bad ingredient to have inside the Rays' young clubhouse.

The Rays signed Weeks, 34, to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. Last season, he made the D-backs' Opening Day roster as a pinch-hitter and reserve outfielder. He hit .239 and drove in 27 runs while playing in 108 games.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Versatile Miller getting chance to man keystone

Rays manager Cash says infielder 'up for the challenge'

Versatile Miller getting chance to man keystone

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller will get to show off his versatility by getting a lot of work at second base this spring, manager Kevin Cash told reporters Friday.

"It's as simple as that," Cash said. "He's up for the challenge. We had a conversation before he got here. We had a conversation yesterday. Brad Miller is bought in and is all about the team, he'll do whatever. But we think, for our team, this spring, we need to get him as acclimated as possible at second base."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hunter signs Minors deal with Rays

Journeyman in camp with chance to win bullpen job

Hunter signs Minors deal with Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tommy Hunter arrived at the Rays camp Friday after reaching a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.

"You know, it's an opportunity to play baseball," Hunter said. "And that's all you can ask for. As a baseball player, you're just looking forward to it and meeting some new faces, and playing with some new guys. Just seeing how it works out."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Manfred discusses Rays' stadium progress

Manfred discusses Rays' stadium progress

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the Rays' stadium situation on Thursday at MLB Spring Training Media Day at Joker Marchant Stadium.

"I continue to monitor the developments," said Manfred, noting that he has regular conversations with principal owner Stu Sternberg, and he recently spoke with St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Morrison hoping for better April with Rays

Slugger aims to build on second-half momentum

Morrison hoping for better April with Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Saying Logan Morrison didn't get off to an auspicious beginning with the Rays last season would be a huge understatement.

In his first season with the Rays, Morrison hit .100 in April, with no home runs and no RBIs. Not exactly the numbers that the Rays, or the team's fans, were expecting to see from the veteran slugger.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays keeping eye on their four Classic players

Pitchers Archer, De Leon take steps to prepare for tournament

Rays keeping eye on their four Classic players

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Four Rays players, including starter Chris Archer and closer Alex Colome, will be headed to the World Baseball Classic, and the team doesn't believe being a part of the international event will impact their season.

But the Rays will be watching closely.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.