Casali starting to figure things out at the plate

Rays catcher belts homer, double in series finale loss to Royals

Casali starting to figure things out at the plate

KANSAS CITY -- Entering Wednesday night's 6-3 loss to the Royals, Rays catcher Curt Casali had been in the midst of a 1-for-30 stretch at the plate.

But he came through with a solo home run in the fifth and he followed with a double in his next at-bat. On the night, he went 2-for-3 with a walk against Wade Davis in the ninth.

"Great for Curt," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He has been scuffling. He smoked two balls. Had some good at-bats. Had a good at-bat right there off Wade Davis in the last inning. So that was nice to see."

Casali has continued to work hard with his approach as much as his swing.

"I just thought I was guessing too much at the plate," Casali said. "I was just trying to do way too much. I was trying to get back to what I was doing last year."

Casali literally began swinging for the fences in 2015, finishing with 10 home runs in 101 at-bats.

"I thought [getting back to where he was last year] was an attainable goal, it still may be," Casali said. "But I can't think that way. I have to think about putting together competitive at-bats."

Casali allowed that he's actually felt better at the plate this past week.

"I felt like I was in the cusp of starting to contribute and hitting the ball a little harder," Casali said. "You know, the walks are up. I'm happy about that. I feel like I'm in more control at the plate. Tonight was a good start in terms of personally getting back in there, but obviously not the way we wanted to finish this game."

As for the home run, Casali said he laid off a "pretty good" changeup on the first pitch he saw from Royals starter Danny Duffy in the fifth.

"I figured he was going to come back with another fastball," Casali said. "Fortunately, I got my hands inside enough and drove it pretty well."

Casali did not appear to come out of his shoes on the swing.

"It felt really good," Casali said. "Baseball players are dumb sometimes. We try to overswing. And that's when stuff doesn't go the way we want to. But I'm not trying to hit home runs. I'm just trying to hit the ball as hard as I can. Just put as quick of a swing on it as I can and fortunately that was a good one."

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.