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Maddon rips into Rays

KANSAS CITY. Mo. — Manager Joe Maddon's constant calm and perpetual positivity gave way after Saturday's game as — for the first time in his three-year reign — he ripped into the Rays for their lack of hustle.

Maddon's blast was loud, brief (about two minutes) and to the point. Several players described him as clearly "hot;" another said he was "borderline irate — for Joe."

Maddon's message: "Mistakes happen, but one thing you can control is your effort. It takes no talent to hustle whatsoever."

"I think it had to be said," he explained Sunday. "I've done it on an individual basis, and I still believe that's the right way to do it. But at some point it had to be done within the group, because you can lose a pennant by one game, and I've been there. Every game matters, every game counts, every play counts."

Maddon was publicly upset with the lack of hustle in Saturday's game by 2B Akinori Iwamura, who he said "just didn't run hard enough" during an eighth-inning sequence in which he could have scored the go-ahead run.

But his displeasure was broader and had been building, and he picked his spot on Saturday, figuring the message would be received better after a victory. He went into the clubhouse before it was opened to the media, turned down the usual postwin music and made it very clear how unhappy he was.

"He was just fed up," LHP Scott Kazmir said. "It was something that really needed to be said. It really needed to be said."

"You could tell his heart was behind it 100 percent," reliever Trever Miller said. "When you have a manager who doesn't express a lot of emotion have a moment like that, you know it's serious, it's not for show. You accept it for what it was and listen to it; he didn't say anything that was not true. Every now and then, you need a little spark like that especially in the dog days."

IWAMURA RESPONDS: Iwamura wouldn't talk about the situation until after Sunday's game, and said through interpreter Bori Uchibori that he didn't think he was in the wrong. "I thought I was giving 100 percent, but if it looked like I was not giving 100 percent hopefully I don't do that anymore," he said.

GLOVER GOING? RHP Gary Glover, ready to come off the disabled list (left calf strain), was told to fly home Sunday rather than accompany the team to Toronto, which would be a good indication he isn't going to rejoin the bullpen and instead could soon be designated for assignment or traded.

Glover, who declined to comment and appeared unhappy as he left the clubhouse, was placed on the DL (retroactive to July 11) when Troy Percival was activated July 20. He is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in 29 games.

ROCCO REPORT: Maddon said reports on OF Rocco Baldelli's play at Double-A Montgomery are "all good," as he has played in the field twice, is hitting balls "very sharply" and often to right-center, is "running better" and attempting to steal bases. Baldelli's rehab assignment runs through Aug. 4, and Maddon indicated they will stick with the plan, seeking "steady progress and see where it takes us."

TRADE WINDS: The Rays have scouted Colorado LHP Brian Fuentes extensively, but according to ESPN's Peter Gammons, the Cardinals have emerged as the favorites to land him. … The Rays did make a deal for a left-handed reliever — acquiring minor-leaguer Darin Downs from the Cubs for a player to be named and assigning him to Class A Vero Beach.

MISCELLANY: DH Cliff Floyd, who returned to the Tampa Bay area Saturday for the birth of his third child, is scheduled to rejoin the team today in Toronto. … 1B Carlos Pena had his first consecutive multihit games of the season. … Royals 1B Ross Gload, a former USF star, is hitting .346 against the Rays.

Maddon rips into Rays 07/27/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:11pm]
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