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Keeping guys fresh early a focus for Cash

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Rays had a winning record in the first half of last season, but they were six games under .500 after the All-Star break. There could be many reasons for that, but manager Kevin Cash went into 2018 determined to deal with one of them.

"I need to do a better job managing the lineup and keeping guys fresh," Cash said Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. "Early on, even with the off-days, I'm going to try to give them days off."

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NEW YORK -- The Rays had a winning record in the first half of last season, but they were six games under .500 after the All-Star break. There could be many reasons for that, but manager Kevin Cash went into 2018 determined to deal with one of them.

"I need to do a better job managing the lineup and keeping guys fresh," Cash said Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. "Early on, even with the off-days, I'm going to try to give them days off."

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Right fielder Carlos Gomez and third baseman Matt Duffy were out of the starting lineup Wednesday against the Yankees, even though the Rays didn't play Monday (snow) and have another scheduled off-day Friday in Boston.

"I don't think specific guys wore down [last year], but I think as a team we wore down," Cash said. "Maybe they would have been a tick fresher down the stretch if we had given them more days earlier."

Worth noting
• Even though Chris Archer would be on a normal four days of rest Sunday, the Rays will use that as another bullpen day and start Archer on Monday in Chicago. The Rays will use bullpen days twice in the three-game series in Boston, with Jake Faria making the only standard start on Saturday.

"I know Chris could go [Sunday], but we'd rather give him and [Blake Snell] the extra day," Cash said.

• Because of Monday's snowout and pregame rain Tuesday, the Rays saw only a scaled-down version of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. They should get the full Opening Day treatment Thursday at Fenway Park, and Cash doesn't mind it at all.

"This is big for a lot of the youth on our team to witness," he said.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York and covered the Rays on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Rays