Lopez gets lecture and seat on bench today, then Maddon says issue is in past
Felipe Lopez got a talking to from manager Joe Maddon and a seat on the bench today after his glaring lack of hustle Friday night.
Maddon said he now considers the issue resolved, even though it was the second time this week Lopez was talked to about not running hard to first base. Lopez declined to comment, smiling, pointing at his sealed lips, then saying: "I don't want to say anything.''
Maddon said he did not play Lopez today as punishment but considered the issue resolved. "He was great,'' Maddon said. "I explained to him everything, he understood, he was not upset. I just want him to understand that's how we do things here, and I've talked to him about it before. For us to be repeat AL East champs we've got to play the game a certain way, and that's it.''
Lopez came to the Rays with something of a checkered past, and this was the third incident he's been involved with joining the Rays. On April 9 he flung his bat at White Sox pitcher Chris Sale after hitting a home run, and drew a stern rebuke from Maddon, and a seat on the bench then, too.
"Here's my take : I feel like he and I have a good relationship - I really like this fella, he's a very likable guy,'' Maddon said. "Sometimes people where they come from just don't understand, or it's about prioritizing what is important and what is not. So maybe it's not been presented to him in a way that this stuff is that important in the past. I just want him to know while he's here, it is that important. So hopefully he'll understand that and make the adjustments because I think he's done a great job for us so far.''
Lopez didn't make the Rays team out of spring training, but was summoned before reporting to Triple-A Durham when Evan Longoria got hurt. With Longoria expected back on the next homestand, the Rays will have to decide who has to go to make room - either Lopez or Casey Kotchman, or perhaps Dan Johnson, with the possibility of losing whomever they choose on waivers.