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Cash says leadership of Rays starts with him

Longoria doesn't feel team meetings are answer to snapping club's skid
MLB.com @wwchastain

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the aftermath of getting swept by the Royals in Kansas City, the Rays (22-29) had to field questions about leadership in the clubhouse prior to Thursday night's series opener against the Twins.

Rays manager Kevin Cash allowed, "There's always a case for better leadership, that starts with me."

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MINNEAPOLIS -- In the aftermath of getting swept by the Royals in Kansas City, the Rays (22-29) had to field questions about leadership in the clubhouse prior to Thursday night's series opener against the Twins.

Rays manager Kevin Cash allowed, "There's always a case for better leadership, that starts with me."

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"I need to do a better job of communicating and help leading this team along with some of our players," Cash said. "We have plenty of guys who are extremely eager and hungry to turn this thing around."

Cash was asked if he felt like leadership in the clubhouse was overrated.

"No," he said. "Good teams have good leadership."

Evan Longoria said it doesn't matter what "anybody says on the outside."

"We know what it's like in here," Longoria said. "There is leadership. I think Cash has done a tremendous job. He is the leader of the club. And I think he's handled what we've been going through quite well."

Longoria referred to his teammates as men who understand what they need to do. So team meetings aren't particularly effective.

"I think we talk more on the field and in the dugout than we do sit-down meetings," Longoria said. "I mean, sit-down meetings are not the best things. It's kind of like going to the principal's office.

"This game is different, it's not like football where you play once a week and then you have meetings in between. You know, you're playing every day, so sometimes you just get tired of those meetings, those closed-door meetings. It's just different."

Longoria added that the players "understand what they need to do here."

"We're just not playing well, that's the bottom line," Longoria said. "We're not playing good baseball. It's not for lack of leadership."

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi said he thought the value of leadership was "overplayed from the outside world looking in."

"We know who the leaders are on this club and they do a good job," Odorizzi said. "I just think it's getting over-analyzed right now with the slump. There wasn't an issue earlier on in the year when we were above .500. But now that we're sliding, it's not like anything's changed between now and then. We just haven't been able to put it together."

Longoria said he wasn't "really worried about critics, or anybody that wants to say what they want to say."

"Everybody has the right to think what they want to think," Longoria said. "But I believe that everybody in here knows where we're at and believes we're on the same page. We just have to play better and go out there and get after it. There's no amount of meetings or leadership, or what have you, that can turn it around except playing better baseball."

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

Tampa Bay Rays