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Joe Maddon wins 500th game as manager of Tampa Bay Rays

BOSTON — Joe Maddon will keep the scorecard, as well as the ball that equipment manager Chris Westmoreland delivered to his office. But Maddon won't take any credit for reaching the 500-win mark with the Rays.

"It really speaks to the quality of the players and the organization, is what it does. Whereas the first couple years spoke to the lack of quality. All of a sudden it got better in years three, etc.," Maddon said. "I just happen to be standing in the corner of the dugout. … Better baseball players make you a lot smarter manager."

Maddon is the fifth manager to have at least 500 wins with his current team, joining Ron Gardenhire (Twins), Jim Leyland (Tigers), Charlie Manuel (Phillies) and Mike Scioscia (Angels).

He said he appreciated the opportunity to stick around after going 127-197 in his first two seasons.

"At the end of the second year that was that moment where ownership could have thought something differently, but did not," he said. "They chose to stay with me, and part of that is why I wanted to sign the extension when we got that opportunity. I've said it before, this is the best place in the major leagues to be as a manager. And I really believe we've become a destination spot for players.

"I know maybe we don't pay the most money, but as a place to participate and as a place to grow and feel free as a major-leaguer to take your game to the field, I think this is a great place to play."

Maddon, interim manager of the Angels in 1999, is 519-492 overall.

GOMES UP, COBB DOWN: The Rays shuffled their bullpen for the third time in four days, though they now have a mix that seemingly could work a while, calling up RHP Brandon Gomes while sending RHP Alex Cobb back to Triple A.

Cobb had taken the place of RHP Dane De La Rosa, who had replaced RHP Josh Lueke as the Rays wanted to have a fresh arm to handle extended innings if necessary. But they felt better with the previously taxed pen rested following James Shields' 81/3-inning Monday outing, and with RHP Wade Davis ready again after a three-inning outing Friday.

Impressive as a 2011 rookie, Gomes was sent down so he'd have additional time to increase velocity and sharpen command following offseason back surgery. He has looked sharp in six scoreless innings over five games for Durham, allowing only two hits while striking out eight.

FERNANDO-MANIA: Standing on the mound with his cap typically askew, RHP Fernando Rodney enjoyed the serenade of the Fenway faithful chanting "ROD-NEE, ROD-NEE."

Even better, he liked shutting them up with the final two outs for his AL-co-leading fourth save, in four chances, without allowing even a hit. (David Ortiz, on an intentional walk, is the only one of the 14 batters he has faced to reach base.)

"Outrageous," Maddon said. "He's come in really calm. He's been a strike-thrower. Very aggressive. He's just looked really good. We've been able to shorten up the inning for him a couple times which I kind of like as we're building his confidence, which right now I would consider soaring."

Rodney, proving a capable replacement thus far for injured RHP Kyle Farnsworth, said he feels good and enjoys the pressure situations, like he had Monday. "I like people talking when I'm pitching," he said. "I feel more comfortable with that."

TIP OF THE DAY: After reviewing video of LHP Matt Moore's Sunday game, pitching coach Jim Hickey said he has "zero concern" that the prized rookie was tipping his pitches.

The issue was raised in the Rays' dugout during the game, as the Sox were taking aggressive swings at Moore's pitches, but Hickey said Monday it was the result of the poor quality of some of Moore's pitches. "My level of concern had nothing to do with anything except misplaced fastballs," he said.

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton (sore back) went 2-for-4 with two singles, a walk and an RBI in the first of three final rehab games for Double-A Montgomery. He's targeting a Friday return. … RHP Matt Buschman, LHP David Price's roommate at Vanderbilt, was acquired from Washington for cash and sent to Montgomery. … Maddon will be featured on tonight's episode of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, airing at 10.

Joe Maddon wins 500th game as manager of Tampa Bay Rays 04/16/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:47am]
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