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Cash focused on improving team baserunning

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Field 4 at the Charlotte Sports Complex featured a spirited session that saw Rays players simulate baserunning situations against infielders on Monday. Rays manager Kevin Cash praised his players' effort during the drill, and later he told reporters that the team must improve on the basepaths.

"We have to use better judgment on the bases," Cash said. "Our baserunners need to be the ones deciding what they're doing on the field. We can't rely on our coaching staff.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Field 4 at the Charlotte Sports Complex featured a spirited session that saw Rays players simulate baserunning situations against infielders on Monday. Rays manager Kevin Cash praised his players' effort during the drill, and later he told reporters that the team must improve on the basepaths.

"We have to use better judgment on the bases," Cash said. "Our baserunners need to be the ones deciding what they're doing on the field. We can't rely on our coaching staff.

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"I thought Charlie Montoyo was tremendous. As good as anybody coaching third base last year. And same for [first-base coach] Rocco [Baldelli]. But we have to get our guys to make their decisions on their own, so that will be a point of emphasis."

Cash plans to continue harping on the subject throughout Spring Training. Tuesday morning, the team will have an 8 a.m. ET baserunning meeting to "discuss a couple of things we did well last year and a couple of things we want to focus on."

"And just to more or less get the guys talking," Cash said. "We're going to pose some questions. And we've got some videos we're going to show them and go from there."

Cash allowed that working on baserunning is tough.

"Baserunning is about as difficult a thing as you can ... simulate in Spring Training," Cash said. "It's just very difficult to do."

Cash called Monday a "lighter day" for the baserunning drill, adding that he thought the group did a nice job of getting "everything ironed out, as far as the fundamental stuff."

Cash said he and the coaching staff are considering a new drill once Minor League camp opens.

"We're going to send our baserunners over when they're running cutoffs and relays," Cash said. "We're going to send them over there to play the ball. Maybe a couple of days, we'll have a day with Charlie and Rocco coaching them and waving them for when to go and when not to. And then we're going to take the base coaches away. And say, 'Now you guys make the decision.'"

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays