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Maddon doesn't blame Derek Shelton for Rays' hitting woes

Hitting coach Derek Shelton does not need to fear for his job, manager Joe Maddon says, despite the Rays’ offensive struggles.

WILL VRAGOVIC | TIMES

Hitting coach Derek Shelton does not need to fear for his job, manager Joe Maddon says, despite the Rays’ offensive struggles.

ST. PETERSBURG — Although hitting coach Derek Shelton has been a target for fans frustrated with the Rays' worst offensive stretch in club history, manager Joe Maddon said he has given no thought to replacing him.

"I not for a second would blame him for anything," Maddon said. "I mean that as sincerely as you can possibly take it. I never even thought that."

The Rays' 236 runs are the fewest in the American League and fourth fewest in the majors. Their 10 shutouts are tied for the league's most. And they have not scored in a franchise-record 28 consecutive innings.

Maddon said the responsibility to turn things around ultimately falls on the hitters, not the coaches. He said the coaching staff shares information and roles to preach the same ideas. As long as there are no communication or philo­sophical breakdowns, Shelton's future is safe.

"To point the finger or blame at him only is ridiculous," Maddon said. "We're all in this together."

ODORIZZI SHINES: Playing against the team he rooted for as a child in southern Illinois, Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi produced the best game of his career.

Odorizzi, 24, followed the advice of teammates Chris Archer and Alex Cobb and threw inside more than usual. He went a career-high 71/3 innings and carried a no-hitter into the fifth. His only mistake was a changeup he left high for Matt Holliday, who blasted it into the leftfield seats.

"I came out with a little extra motivation," Odorizzi said. "I think it could be a good turning point not just for the season, but a career turning point."

Medical matters: C Ryan Hani­gan (hamstring) will rejoin the Rays today. He made two rehab starts for Class A Charlotte and was at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, taking early swings.

"I was tired of watching," said Hanigan, hitting .212 with three homers.

The Rays optioned C Ali Solis to Triple-A Durham to make room.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) is set to make his second rehab start in Indianapolis on Thursday for Durham. He's expected to make one more start before rejoining the Rays for the June 27 doubleheader at Baltimore.

CLOSING TIME: A day after stripping the closer title from RHP Grant Balfour, Maddon reiterated he plans to consider several pitchers for that role, including LHP Jake McGee, RHP Joel Peralta and even Balfour, based on the matchups.

Maddon doesn't plan for Juan Carlos Oviedo to take those duties.

"I'm still not ready to apply all that pressure in his corner yet," he said.

MISCELLANY: Nearly a year since he was struck in the head by a line drive, Cobb is endorsing a protective head gear product for kids, isoBLOX's Skull Cap. The item features soft, protective plates, is made to fit under caps and sells for $59.95. Cobb is also involved in the company's efforts to refine a product that can be worn by major-leaguers. … Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, a St. Louis native and lifelong Cardinals fan, was on the field to watch batting practice.

Maddon doesn't blame Derek Shelton for Rays' hitting woes 06/10/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:55pm]
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