PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Ryan Hanigan is the new guy behind the plate, so he's been taking it all in as one of the team's catchers while getting familiar with the Rays' pitchers. So far, he's been impressed with the group.
"I don't know what I expected," Hanigan said. "You just try and get a feel for the guys and get a feel for where they're at. I think there's a lot of talent with these guys. I was impressed with the unity that these guys show in terms of the way these guys all work together as a pitching staff. They watch each other. At simulated games, they're all out there watching the other guys pitch.
"They're doing everything together and talking pitching all the time. So that's something that's been pretty impressive to see -- just how tight-knit the crew is, the staff is, and how these guys kind of feed off each other."
Hanigan arrived to camp familiar with what the pitchers had done in the past.
"They've had great numbers," Hanigan said. "I haven't been surprised by the talent level because of the numbers, I'm not going to lie. It's exciting to catch guys like that who have a high ceiling and a bright future, and they've already had a lot of success."
Hanigan called every good outing a "stepping stone," and he used the same description for the bad ones.
"I don't think these guys are going to dwell on anything like that this time of year," Hanigan said. "But things have been solid. Things have looked good -- pounding the zone, mixing things up, working on stuff here and there -- just really pretty much executing out of the gate so far."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.