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Rays' Balfour insists he was yelling at himself

CHICAGO — RHP Grant Balfour had plenty of things to be upset about — in his own public way — during Friday night's fiasco, insisting whatever yelling he did in the vicinity of Chicago's Paul Konerko was merely personal reflection as he turned a two-run lead into a 9-6 loss.

"I was (ticked) at myself and frustrated," Balfour said Saturday. "I wasn't yelling at him or anyone else. I was really angry at myself for the way I went about it. It was a frustrating game, and it ended up even worse."

But Konerko said Balfour — well-known for being animated, loud and occasionally profane as he strolls off the mound after pitches — went too far in getting too close during his tirade.

Which is why the generally genial Sox veteran stopped — for what he said was the first time in his career — to yell back and see what Balfour was spewing about, creating a bit of a tense moment.

"I wasn't going to have somebody yell that close to me," Konerko said Saturday. "He has to understand if he's going to yell that close to people, you're going to get a guy every now and then that's going to ask why or take exception to it."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he didn't blame either party, though he suggested Konerko — whose walk loaded the bases with the Sox down 6-4 at the moment — had an ulterior motive.

"I just think that pretty much was Grant being Grant — and you know that's how he is, we've known that for years — and I think that was Paulie trying to rally troops up a little bit," Maddon said. Konerko insisted it was not motivational — "I don't play that game" — merely informational to inquire if Balfour really was yelling at him.

Balfour nearly escaped with a grounder, but the Rays couldn't turn the double play, and after a third walk he allowed the grand slam to rookie Jose Abreu.

Maddon's bigger concern was Balfour throwing too many sliders and not challenging hitters with his fastball. Balfour acknowledged he should have been more aggressive, but he said his fastball isn't where he wants it to be yet.

But Maddon said Balfour shouldn't be concerned with his velocity, which has been in the low 90s rather than the 94 range he prefers, because he has such good movement on his fastball.

"If the gun wasn't up there he'd probably throw the fastball more with really good results," Maddon said. "That's all it is. … It's just a matter of trust right now."

INSIDE JOB: Maddon joked that he got ejected Saturday on purpose to escape the cold, but he said the real point of his eighth-inning outburst was a protest over a series of check-swing calls going against them: "I just had enough.''

SWEET HOME: Chicago has been an eventful stop for LHP David Price, who celebrated a playoff series win here in '08, won his 20th game here in '12 and had an incident with umpire Tom Hallion last April. Price claimed Hallion, who was working the plate, cursed at him; Hallion denied it and called Price a liar. MLB fined both plus two other Rays for their comments.

Asked Saturday about being back at the scene, Price — who didn't receive the apology he sought — still seemed stung.

"It doesn't affect me," he said. "I have no respect for him. … It doesn't bother me."

Hallion has worked three Rays series since but not the plate for a Price start.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTER: With impressive LHP Mike Montgomery (3-0, 2.81) working the first 81/3 innings and RHP Brad Boxberger the final two-thirds, the Rays' Triple-A Durham team posted a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over Scranton (Yankees).

MISCELLANY: Ryan Hanigan knocked in two more runs, his 14 RBIs matching John Flaherty for most by a Rays catcher in April. … The Rays extended their doubles streak to 24 games. … Sox manager Robin Ventura said Rays LHP Cesar Ramos was "going slower than slow.'' … The Rays logged their third shutout.

Rays' Balfour insists he was yelling at himself 04/26/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2014 12:28am]
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