BALTIMORE — Given all the negativity created by the Rays’ recent offensive struggles, batting coach Chad Mottola is keen to stay positive.
“He’s very consistent,” manager Kevin Cash said ahead of Saturday’s game. “We believe it’s better to stay positive than just drag people into the negatives. These guys have enough pressure on them. The last thing you want to do is add to that by being negative.
Having a combination of players in the roster who are crumbling and others who are young and/or inexperienced has created some quiet games and caused some of their veterans to start pressing and trying to do too much.
“When (Ji-Man) Choi is up there, his punches get amplified,” Mottola said. “When Yandy (Diaz is) up there, his at-bats get amplified. There is no doubt. So these guys are like, ‘If we don’t do it, who knows who’s going to do it right now?’
“So, of course, there’s this (feeling) of tension in the dugout that you feel. But it’s our job as coaches to reduce that and put them in a better position.
Cash said he has no doubt Mottola, in his sixth full season on the job, will help the batters through the rough patch.
‘This is a difficult work. It’s thankless work,” Cash said. “We work with a mixed formation and we started very hard. …
“I’m totally confident that Chad and his group are doing everything they can to prepare our players, and confident that the results will eventually come.”
fathers day greeting
Rays players and other league players will wear special caps and blue socks, cleats, batting gloves, arm warmers and other items in honor of Father’s Day.
For some Rays, like pitcher Jeffrey Springs, it will be his first as a father. He and his wife Bailey had a son, Stetson, about five months ago.
“It will certainly be much more special than those of the past,” he said. “It means a lot. It really does. And they’re here (in Baltimore), so that’s going to make it even better.
Springs said he’s become “pretty good” at changing diapers, although “trying to keep him from rolling over and stuff while doing it has been tough. He’s learning to kick his legs. … You must be quick.
Kevin Kiermaier and his wife Marisa have two sons, Karter (3.5 years old) and Krew (15 months). He had a treat early Saturday when he watched FaceTime as Karter played his first T-ball game in Tampa. “Two singles and a few pear trees,” Kevin reported.
Taylor Walls is elated on his second Father’s Day with daughter Sutton, who is nearly 14 months old, and wife Hallie. “Extremely special,” he said. “It will be nice to be able to go home (Sunday evening).”
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With the Rays having to drop a reliever after Sunday’s game to meet MLB’s new 13-pitch limit, outfielder Josh Lowe is awaiting a recall from Triple-A. He’s hitting .301 with six home runs, 34 RBIs and a .927 OPS in 35 games since his demotion May 1, but with 47 strikeouts. Infielder Jonathan Aranda (hitting .318-11-38-.921) is another option. … Wander Franco (quad strain) went 1 for 4 as a DH, with a first RBI triple at bat in his first rehab game for the Florida Complex League team on Saturday. He is expected to play again Monday (7 p.m. at Port Charlotte), at shortstop against Boston and rehab starter Chris Sale, then move to Triple-A and potentially join the Rays next weekend. …Walls ordered hats for his teammates with the logo of his father’s Georgia-based company, Walls Well Drilling Inc. Adding to the family bond that they were made his own by his mother-in-law, who makes custom clothing work with his Virginia-based company, willowstitch.com.
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