Pleasant surprise Casali done for the season
ST. PETERSBURG -- With the season ending Sunday, Rays manager Kevin Cash announced Friday afternoon that catcher Curt Casali will not play again in 2015.
Casali went on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 26 with a strained left hamstring.
"To his credit, he's grinded it out," Cash said. "It just doesn't make a ton of sense for him to go out there, catch three innings, have a couple of at-bats. What he did was tremendous for us this season. Very unfortunate that he got hurt.
"If we were not in September and under different circumstances, it would be a different situation. But we want to be smart with him. We want him to have a normal offseason and continue to get healthy."
Casali finished the season at .238 with 10 home runs and 18 RBIs in 38 games. Though Casali has good size, the home runs were a nice surprise for the Rays and a reflection of changes in the catcher's hitting approach. Whereas he had been a contact-type hitter, he morphed into a hitter looking to drive the ball more often.
"I think [the new approach] helped him become a better hitter," Cash said. "Sometimes young hitters get up here and try to do too much. Not have the bad at-bat, not roll over the pitch. And with his size and his power, we'll take some of that. Be aggressive and impact us the way you can, and that's by driving the ball to the gaps and hitting the ball out of the ballpark every now and then.
"Great job by [coaches] Derek Shelton, Jamie Nelson and Curt for buying into that approach and really selling out to it."