PORT CHARLOTTE -- Chris Archer told Tim Beckham to bring extra bats to Friday's live batting practice session in the Tampa Bay Rays workout, "because I'm going to saw you off a few times."
Tim Beckham texted Chris Archer at 5 a.m. Friday to tell him he better bring his best stuff, "because I'm going deep."
Beckham walked off the field with all four bats he came with intact. The same can't be said for the balls Archer pitched to him.
After seeing two fastballs blow by him, Beckham took the third offering from his teammate and launched it over the fence in left-center field. The blast sent the infielder's bat flipping through the air in triumph and left the right-hander pounding his hand into his glove, albeit with a smile on his face.
"He called it," Archer said. "That's why I was so animated."
It was a moment during the Rays' first full-squad workout that tied perfectly to manager Kevin Cash's message to the team in its first meeting that morning.
Championship clubs, he told them, have great teammates.
But the Rays really didn't really need to hear that part of the message, Cash said. They had already provided it themselves. After all, the team hit 90-percent attendance more than a week before Friday's workout.
And examples of the camaraderie they've built -- such as the good-natured ribbing between Archer and Beckham on Friday -- have been prevalent throughout camp.
Last week, Taylor Motter, who has no major league service time, shouted to six-year veteran Logan Morrison to leave a coffee (black, one sugar) in his locker. Morrison responded by dropping off a Borat-inspired "mankini" bathing suit instead.
During Friday's workout, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi, who weren't scheduled to pitch, shuttled back and forth between Fields 1 and 4 to watch rotation-mates Archer and Drew Smyly throw. Archer also sat behind the screen to watch prospect Blake Snell's session, and Odorizzi did the same with Taylor Guerrieri.
And at the end of Friday's meeting, Archer presented Kevin Kiermier with a painting the team commissioned of his Aug. 31 highlight-reel catch in Baltimore to commemorate the center fielder's Gold Glove season.
"He didn't have to do that at all. It caught me by total surprise," Kiermaier said. "It just speaks volumes about his character and what he does.I know he appreciates me and what I do out there, and this is just another thing that he's done for me along the way and I can't appreciate him enough."
Added Archer: "It's important that we recognize his hard work and his achievement. I'm sure he got a lot of phone calls and texts from everybody, but as a group, we thought that it was important to congratulate him and present him with something he'll always remember from that season."
It's actions like those that could help the Rays accomplish the second part of Cash's message: Start winning today.
The manager could see it during the team's first live batting practice session, one he called the best he and hitting coach Derek Shelton had ever seen. Instead of players standing under the turtle and tracking pitches, bats on shoulders, the turtles were pushed back and batters -- unprompted by their manager -- came out swinging.
"We just said, 'We're not going to sit, we're not going to track. We're going to come up here and swing,'" Kiermaier said. "Try to set the tone from Day 1."
It's the tone they want to carry throughout the spring.
"We know we're not going out there to win anything today," Cash said. "But the intensity of having that mindset will benefit us once the games start here, once games start in the season."