Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Maddon: Rays won't throw at Alex Rodriguez

BALTIMORE — Don't expect to see Rays pitchers throwing at Alex Rodriguez when the Yankees come to the Trop this weekend.

Manager Joe Maddon said he disagreed with Red Sox RHP Ryan Dempster taking it on himself to hit Rodriguez, who has been a lightning rod since being suspended for PED reasons and playing while waiting for an appeal to be heard. Also that Dempster, who Tuesday was suspended for five games, deserved a more severe punishment.

"Vigilante justice and unilateral decisions, I'm not into that stuff," Maddon said. "There's rules in place. There's a board that's assigned to make those kind of decisions. I believe in players controlling the game itself in regards to what's happening in that game, and we always talk about policing that.

"But (what Dempster did) is totally separate from the unwritten rules of baseball. So I do not agree with that at all. And, again, I don't believe in rogue unilateral decisions or players meting out discipline, whereas this is something entirely different."

Maddon said he agreed totally with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who protested vigorously at the time, and that Dempster, like all starting pitchers who are suspended, should have gotten more than five games since he may not miss a start.

While Trop fans may boo Rodriguez, Maddon said his pitchers will not be looking to make any statements.

"There's no reason to," he said. "There's absolutely zero reason to do that, for me. That's what I believe. I believe let the mechanism in place work and everybody do their jobs. … Don't attempt to be judge and jury and just let everybody do their jobs."

Maddon said it reminded him of White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia hitting then-Ray Delmon Young in his 2006 debut following Young's minor-league suspension for throwing a bat that hit an umpire.

PITCHING IN: The Rays are still finalizing upcoming pitching plans, but it appears RHP Roberto Hernandez will not start during the weekend series vs. the Yankees, as the Rays are planning to use Chris Archer, David Price and Alex Cobb on normal rest.

There's a chance, barring injury or rainout, that Hernandez, who has 13 losses and a 5.00 ERA, won't start again as the Rays consider different options to plug one spot in the rotation (Tuesday or sooner) until the potential return of injured LHP Matt Moore. Hernandez is likely headed to the bullpen.

MOORE OPTIMISM: Moore (elbow) had another encouraging session playing catch and throwing pitches on flat ground — including the previously troubling changeup — and is excited to throw a bullpen session today, more confident than going into his last one.

"I think that the progress that we've made over the last four-five days is very significant," Moore said.

If today's planned 50-pitch session goes well, Moore will throw a simulated game Saturday then the Rays will have to decide what's next. Moore would like to rejoin the rotation during the homestand that ends Aug. 29; Maddon has indicated Moore may need another simulated game or a rehab start and may not return until the ensuing West Coast trip.

MISCELLANY: The Rays have won seven of the past eight vs. the O's, including five straight in Baltimore. … 2B Ben Zobrist was 0-for-his-first-14 vs. O's starter Miguel Gonzalez, then rapped hits in back-to-back at-bats. … Neither LHP Jake McGee nor RHP Joel Peralta was available, so Maddon used RHP Jamey Wright in the eighth inning and LHP Wesley Wright to start the ninth. … SS Yunel Escobar extended his hitting streak to nine games and increased his average to a season-high .268. … There was a new, correctly spelled, name plate on OF Jason Bourgeois' locker; on Monday it read "Bourgeious."

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