PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- All 66 players on the Rays' Spring Training roster took the field Monday as Tampa Bay went through its first full-squad workout.The workout consisted of batting practice, infield and outfield drills, and position players running the bases. Before the workout, however, manager Kevin Cash held a
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- All 66 players on the Rays' Spring Training roster took the field Monday as Tampa Bay went through its first full-squad workout.
The workout consisted of batting practice, infield and outfield drills, and position players running the bases. Before the workout, however, manager Kevin Cash held a team meeting to relay a message.
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The message centered on not worrying about outside expectations and focusing on what the team can control daily. Tampa Bay won 90 games last season, but it is trying to leave that in the past while looking to build off a competitive year.
"The only expectations are to work hard, play hard, run hard and take care of each other," infielder Matt Duffy said. "They keep it pretty simple, but those are good messages and important messages that everybody needs to be reminded of in the spring."
Once the Rays took the field, the focus was fully on the 2019 season. Here are three observations from the first full-squad workout.
Stanek continues to impress
Ryne Stanek was one of the pitchers who threw batting practice, and he looked impressive.
"Obviously you guys know the velo he has," said catcher Mike Zunino, who caught Stanek's session Monday. "But having that feel and that idea of how he wants to use his pitches is impressive."
Stanek threw about 25 pitches and said he felt good being back on the mound against hitters, a list that included Joey Wendle, Duffy, Emilio Bonifácio, Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames.
Choi, Diaz play first base
As of now, it seems Ji-Man Choi and Yandy Díaz will handle most of the work at first base, with Brandon Lowe also getting some looks. Choi and Diaz looked comfortable during their morning reps at the bag.
In the early session, Choi and Diaz handled ground balls well, while Choi looked a bit more comfortable throwing to second base.
"The wild cards are Yandy and Ji-Man just because we haven't seen them that much," Cash said. "Brandon is learning the position a little bit, but we've known him a little bit. [First base] will be a focal point, and we will pay attention a lot to it."
The Rays have a lot of infield options, and it'll be a challenge for Cash to spread out the at-bats. Duffy, Adames, Wendle and Daniel Robertson all looked impressive in drills, with Adames especially standing out.
The 23-year-old shortstop showed off his range and was accurate with his throws to first, something he struggled with at times in 2018.
Wendle, who had a couple of impressive batting practice sessions last week, had some nice swings off Stanek during BP. The 28-year-old utility man came into camp with some added weight and is looking to build off a productive season during which he hit .300 and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year race.
** Juan Toribio ** covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.