Cash: Pearce, Andriese 'gradually getting better'

Utility man takes batting practice Sunday; righty to play catch Monday

Cash: Pearce, Andriese 'gradually getting better'

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Steve Pearce (right-calf tightness) and Matt Andriese (tightness in his left abdominal muscle) are each making progress from their respective ailments.

Pearce, who has been nursing his calf injury for the past week, took batting practice in the cage on Sunday. Andriese had been scheduled to start Sunday in the Rays' split-squad contest against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. He is scheduled to play catch on Monday.

They are "gradually getting better," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "If this is May 15, we're probably handling things a little differently. But we have the luxury right now of being real smart. Let's get them totally healthy, and then we'll kind of evaluate when they're ready to get back on the field."

Corey Dickerson got hit by a pitch on his left forearm in Saturday's game and was diagnosed with a left forearm bruise, but X-rays were not required. He was in the starting lineup against the Red Sox on Sunday in the Rays' 13-5 win.

Cash had his players take part in a baserunning drill on the back fields of Charlotte Sports Park on Saturday. Sunday he explained his rationale for the drill that he said went well.

"We've had a couple of times where we've been doubled off this year," Cash said. "And that was kind of why we went to the drill yesterday. Hopefully it gave some guys some good simulation about game-speed stuff."

Cash allowed that "it is tough to practice baserunning."

"It is probably the most difficult thing to simulate," Cash said. "And the last thing you want to do in a Spring Training game is force someone to run when maybe they're not feeling 100 percent.

"There are a lot of things to consider. We would love for [Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Guyer, and Desmond Jennings] -- for all those guys to get on base and run. But if in the back of their mind, they're not feeling it that day, that's the last thing we want them to do. So it does get a little difficult. The one thing we can be better at is reading the ball off the bat."

On the flip side, Cash noted that his pitchers have done well fielding their position and holding on runners this spring.

"We've had some guys who have really taken initiative," Cash said. "I mean Brad Boxberger has been tremendous this spring. And I don't know if something was said to him, it certainly wasn't by me. I'm sure Boxy just probably said, 'This is an area I can improve on.' His times have gotten a lot better."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.