ST. PETERSBURG — Wednesday, the Rays believed Tigers RHP Brad Penny yelled at INF Sean Rodriguez for hustling too much on an infield popup on Tuesday, with manager Joe Maddon calling that "absolutely ridiculous" and "insane."
But Penny says it's not true.
Penny said Thursday that he did yell at Rodriguez. But it wasn't because of the hustle, rather his inappropriate language, "screaming and cussing" in frustration as he ran the bases.
"To me, that's a sign of disrespect if you're screaming that loud," Penny said. "All these kids can hear you. It's not too loud in here. So to me, that's not really professional.
"Why would I get on somebody for hustling? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I love when guys hustle. I get on them for not hustling."
Rodriguez acknowledged that with games being televised and fans being able to read lips, he can see why Penny says it's not professional to use that language. But Rodriguez pointed out he's not the first baseball player to have such frustration build up and "there's no need for (Penny) to come out and bark at me."
"Whether it was unprofessional or not, it's not his place to do that," Rodriguez said. "That's not the time to do that."
MEDICAL MATTERS: CF B.J. Upton did not start for the third consecutive game due to a right shoulder strain. But he came through a Thursday throwing session well, and Maddon said there's a "pretty good shot" he will return tonight in Toronto.
"He threw, and he felt a lot better," Maddon said. "But I can still see that in his eyes and in his face that he's not 100 percent. He might not be quite that (today), but I think he's going to be a lot closer to normal."
Upton, who sustained the injury Monday reaching for Delmon Young's double, was available to pinch hit.
BOUNCE BACK: RHP James Shields enters tonight's start eager to rebound from a rough outing Sunday against the Mariners, when he allowed seven runs on 12 hits, including the tying two-run homer in the eighth.
"I had a really good bullpen session," Shields said.
"Obviously, it's not what I wanted to be last outing. But sometimes, you get little hiccups here and there. But I'm ready to go."
Though Shields has a four-game losing streak on the road, the Rays have scored just two runs in his 26 innings over that stretch. And Shields has been good against the Jays, 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA in two starts this season.
"Getting back to the more familiar territory, knowing the opposition better might help," Maddon said. "But James is highly competitive, and I do expect a pretty good bounce back."
ALL OR NOTHING: All four of 3B Evan Longoria's at-bats ended an inning, including the sixth and eighth with runners on base. The Rays are 52-48 when Longoria plays. In the wins, Longoria has batted .299 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs. In the losses, he has batted .149 with five homers and 16 RBIs.
MISCELLANY: RF Matt Joyce threw out Victor Martinez trying to score on Wilson Betemitin the sixth, his team-leading eighth outfield assist. … The Rays' 2-3-4 hitters — Johnny Damon, Longoria and Ben Zobrist — went 0-for-12. … Thursday's announced attendance was 14,069. … Radio play-by-play man Andy Freed missed his second game due to illness but joined the team on its road trip to Toronto and Texas. … The Tigers were missing two big pieces from their lineup, 1B Miguel Cabrera (paternity leave) and C Alex Avila, who was given a day off after playing 18 consecutive games.