Maddon "absolutely" pleased with Shelton's work, says he's not to blame for offensive woes
A lack of offense has been the Rays' primary problem, but manager Joe Maddon made it very clear - in response to questions - that hitting coach Derek Shelton is not to blame. Further, Maddon said several times how pleased he is with Shelton's work.
"Absolutely,'' Maddon said. "I'm always pleased with his work. This guys works as hard as anybody.''
Here are excerpts of Maddon's comments:
"It's not fair for him to be criticized at all. In today's world, it's so funny how sometimes people immediately want to have somebody's head when things aren't going well. I'm always humored by that, I always am.
"Internally, you guys can see it, I can see it, how much he works, how hard he works, how the players respond to him. We're not up to 100 percent strength right now, so things are a little bit skewed. And, in spite of that, we're still in very good shape regarding a potential playoff situation at the end of the year.
"The offense, I can't even tell you it's underperformed to this point, based on the fact that so many people have been injured.
"I appreciate the work that he does. He's really diligent. He works very hard with our guys, and he's very dedicated to his profession. So for those that want to go in that direction, please reference that to that them, the fact that they have one of the hardest working hitting coaches in Major League Baseball working here right now. And he's very dedicated to his craft. ...
"When you have really good offensive players, an effective hitting coach looks like he's an even more effective hitting coach. When you're working with a team that has a lot of injuries right now, a lot of guys getting more at-bats than they should, then probably some times that's going to reflect on him not doing as good of a job and I totally disagree with that.
"For me, a bad hitting coach would be one that's not dedicated to his profession, one that's probably not trying to remain contemporary with what's going on in the game today, and not attempt to utilize all the informations that's at his disposal. That would be a guy that would be to me more worrisome or bothersome. Whereas a guy like Shelty, who does all of that well, people are definitely barking up the wrong tree right there.
"For me, it's about the dedication to the profession, being knowledgable, how the players respond to him, which I think is very good on a daily basis. So there's different reasons why you would sway away from somebody. Believe me, you've got one of the most dedicated, hard-working hitting coaches in all of baseball right here.''