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(Reuters) - The small-market Tampa Bay Rays named Kevin Cash as their manager on Friday with the hopes that Major League Baseball's youngest skipper can turn around a team coming off their first losing season in seven years.
The Tampa native, who turns 37 on Saturday, was the bullpen coach for the Cleveland Indians the past two seasons and has no managing experience. He replaces Joe Maddon, who opted out of his contract at the end of the 2014 campaign.
"His energy and dynamic personality will fit seamlessly with our clubhouse," Stuart Sternberg, principal owner of the Rays, said in a statement.
"We are fortunate to have such a talented individual, and Tampa Bay native, to lead our club as we strive to achieve new heights as a team and organization."
Cash, who played parts of eight seasons in the majors as a catcher for Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston, New York Yankees and Houston, takes over a Rays team that has one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball.
The Rays finished fourth in the five-team American League East division last season with a 77-85 record and missed the playoffs for the third time in the last seven seasons. It also marked the Rays' worst campaign since going 66-96 in 2007.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Gene Cherry