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MLB bans favorite hoodie of Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon, wearing his hoodie during spring training, was told by Major League Baseball he no longer can wear it.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Joe Maddon, wearing his hoodie during spring training, was told by Major League Baseball he no longer can wear it.

BOSTON — A crackdown by MLB's uniform police cost manager Joe Maddon his favored hoodie sweatshirt.

And, even tongue in cheek, he wasn't happy about it.

"That's part of our culture here," Maddon said. "It's almost like a security blanket for me. Managing without a hoodie on a cool night could be very disconcerting. Furthermore, I think it's wrong."

The MLB order applies to all managers and coaches, saying they can wear only the official team jacket or approved Majestic pullover over their jersey (though it sure looked like Maddon had the hoodie under his official jacket Friday).

Maddon lamented the forced obsolescence of the hoodie — "All of a sudden, it's becoming a dinosaur; it's one of the better products made over the last several years" — and poked a bit of fun at MLB's priorities.

"I have no idea what the rationale is," he said. "It may have something to do with the pace of the game. I have no idea."

Maddon was allowed to continue to wear his "Elmer Fudd" hat — flaps down.

TRY, TRY AGAIN: Forgive RHP James Shields for not considering Fenway Park among his favorites. Not with an 0-6 record and 8.04 ERA in his six starts inside the green walls.

"It's definitely not in my head. I don't really let anything get in my head," Shields said. "I guess every time I'm here, I always have that one inning. I've done pretty well for the most part besides the one inning. I'm going to try to minimize my damage while I'm here."

Shields hasn't been particularly sharp in his first two starts, lasting just six and 51/3 innings before exceeding the 100-pitch limit, but said his mechanics felt better in his last bullpen session.

"I think I pitched okay," he said. "My pitch count got away from me a little bit, but I felt really strong at the end of the game in both games and felt like I could have gone more."

Of more concern is the cold. Shields has been bothered by a head cold for the past few days, and he hasn't pitched much in — nor does he like — cold weather. He wore his cold-weather gear during his bullpen session in Baltimore to get used to the feeling.

Don't expect him to come out in short sleeves as any kind of psychological ploy.

"I'm not a tough guy like that," Shields said. "I like to be warm."

HEAT WITH CAUTION: The Rays have a full assortment of cold-weather gear — from high-tech Nike compression-fit Lycra to old-school long underwear — to combat the conditions with a game-time temperature of 41 degrees and a feels-like in the 30s.

Carlos Peña, a Dominican Republic native whose family moved to the Boston area, said he learned a few other tricks, such as applying Icy Hot-type cream to his arms and legs and keeping his batting gloves as close as possible to the dugout heater.

"I burned a few," he said. "I'd go grab the gloves, and there'd be like three holes in them."

MINOR MATTERS: SS prospect Tim Beckham (wrist sprain) made his season debut for Class A Charlotte on Thursday. Also, INF/DH Hank Blalock (thigh) returned to action for Triple-A Durham (and had two RBI singles). … Durham RHP Jeff Bennett left his Thursday start after two batters. There was no roster move announced Friday. … LHP Jake McGee, making his second start for Double-A Montgomery on Friday, allowed five runs and walked four over 41/3 innings.

MISCELLANY: Because the Rays were off for Thursday's official celebration, all players and coaches wore No. 42 in tribute to Jackie Robinson. … C John Jaso is likely to start tonight. … The renovations to the visitors clubhouse were mostly cosmetic, though it did seem a tad less cramped.

MLB bans favorite hoodie of Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon 04/16/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 1:19am]

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