Maddon benches Upton for lack of hustle; Bartlett back as DH
Manager Joe Maddon benched CF B.J. Upton on Wednesday, saying he was upset with Upton's lack of hustle in running out his groundout to the pitcher in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game. Maddon said it'll be a one-day thing, and Upton could be used late in the game if need be.
But considering Maddon recently held a team meeting in Kansas City, when he, for the first time in his three-year reign, ripped the Rays for their lack of hustle - he felt a point had to be made.
"When it comes down to individual effort, it takes absolultely zero talent – zero, zero talent to try hard or play hard every day," Maddon said. "I'm OK with physical mistakes. We talked about the mental mistakes, I want them to cut down and we have cut down on them a lot. I'm accepting of all that. The part I’m not accepting of is the part you can control, which is your effort."
Maddon had praised Upton Tuesday night for his spectacular running catch in the sixth inning, which came with the bases loaded and two outs.
"You just can't pick and choose when you're going to put your effort out there," Maddon said. "It has to be there all the time."
Upton said he agreed with Maddon; "I didn’t run it out - but It's over, done with, you move on. Learned a lesson.”
Bartlett, who suffered a bruised right index finger on a failed bunt attempt Sunday, played catch again pre-game and could be back at shortstop on the upcoming road trip. When asked if Bartlett would return to short Thursday, Maddon said, "I don't know."
*LF Carl Crawford said his sore left hamstring feels a lot better, and he'll be ready to go at "full speed' Thursday in Seattle.
*Maddon said OF Rocco Baldelli is pretty much ready to be activated, but the other injuries the Rays have had to deal with are impacting when he'll come back. Baldelli will travel with the Rays on their upcoming road trip.
- JOE SMITH
(Pictured - B.J. Upton, Jason Bartlett. Times photos - Dirk Shadd, James Borchuck. Click to enlarge.)