Cash encouraging pitchers to 'lean on' catchers

Cash encouraging pitchers to 'lean on' catchers

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash liked the idea of his catchers, Curt Casali and Hank Conger, taking charge behind the plate.

The subject came up when the Rays' manager was reminded about Chris Archer telling reporters that pitching coach Jim Hickey told him not to shake off Casali on Monday night, a game that saw Archer throw 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

"Sometimes that's OK, let somebody else guide you a little bit," Cash said. "It's one thing to have focus on trying to execute a pitch -- and then also call the game. You know, lean on the catcher.

"We put a lot of emphasis on our catchers being very smart and aware of how to follow a game plan. If we have to lean on them on a given night, then so be it."

Cash said they "need both of them to be the guy that guys are comfortable throwing to."

"Curt's done a really nice job," Cash said. "Hank did a great job with [Rays No. 1 prospect] Blake Snell the other day. That's not an easy thing to do, have a young kid, super prospect come up. And there's a lot of pressure. I'm sure there was a lot of pressure on Hank to get him through that."

Cash, who is a former Major League catcher, is familiar with the keys to building successful pitcher-catcher relationships. He believes they have such relationships on the Rays.

"I think our pitchers [and catchers] communicate really well and have a lot of in-between-start discussions," he said.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.