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Cash depending on staff with replay-review rule

Manager says 30-second limit puts pressure on assistant
MLB.com @wwchastain

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday jointly announced a series of rules modifications that will be in place for the 2017 regular season. Among the changes is a 30-second limit for a manager to decide whether to challenge a play and invoke the replay review.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked about the change and noted it would put "a lot of pressure on Jeremy Sowers." Sowers is the Rays' assistant, Major League operations, which involves monitoring the action on the field and giving Cash his opinion about challenging a call or not.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday jointly announced a series of rules modifications that will be in place for the 2017 regular season. Among the changes is a 30-second limit for a manager to decide whether to challenge a play and invoke the replay review.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked about the change and noted it would put "a lot of pressure on Jeremy Sowers." Sowers is the Rays' assistant, Major League operations, which involves monitoring the action on the field and giving Cash his opinion about challenging a call or not.

Mallex Smith remains on the sideline with a left-oblique issue. Cash noted of the speedy outfielder: "We're trying to push it a little bit. We want to see him play. We have to make sure he's clear."

The Rays acquired Smith in the January deal that sent Drew Smyly to the Mariners.

• Cash recently complimented former No. 1 picks Nick Ciuffo and Casey Gillaspie, who are in camp this spring.

"Gillaspie, he made huge strides last year," Cash said. "Just the overall confidence he showed this spring and what I've heard the guys in player development talk about. Last year, the success he had in [Triple-A] Durham is exciting for the entire organization.

"I'm really impressed with the way he's taking ownership of his defense. I don't know if people were hard on him about it. It was something he could get better at and he did, and he's become a really good defender."

And Ciuffo ...

"He had an injury last year that kept him out of games, but he's a guy who kind of fits as a really strong receiver," Cash said. "Catch and throw guy, and his bat is coming around. Everybody has talked about from the Fall League to now, that he's been able to maintain his approach at the plate, and that's something maybe he hasn't been able to do.

"We're excited. He's a lefty, he comes in, he's stronger. The other day he got a big hit. Even his BP rounds are different now than they were a year ago."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Mallex Smith