Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays manager Joe Maddon still dislikes collision rule

TORONTO — C Buster Posey is a popular topic among Rays followers given the discussion over how much better the team would be had it drafted him rather than INF Tim Beckham with the top overall pick in 2008.

Manager Joe Maddon brought Posey up in a different context Friday, saying the Giants star was the primary reason Major League Baseball changed catcher collision rules — which Maddon still strongly opposes — as a result of being on the wrong end of a violent play May 25, 2011. Posey sustained a broken left leg and torn ligaments in his left ankle, ending his season.

"He's a great player, one of the best. I get it, but come on," Maddon said. "Had it been a second- or third-string catcher, I don't think the rule would be in place today. A guy just called up from the minors had that happened, the rule would not be in place."

Though the Rays have yet to be involved in any major controversies since the rule was implemented this season, Maddon has seen enough elsewhere to reinforce he doesn't like it.

"It should have never happened in the first place; that simple," Maddon said in response to a question about the rule change. "There was no reason to do it. When it originally occurred, the catcher that was involved (Posey) was in a bad position. I hate to say it was his fault.

"I think it was a lot made to do of nothing. I'll give you the whole speech. I'm not into overlegislation of anything. I think when you start doing that, you're running risks. So that was an overreaction to one play."

Maddon, who was a catcher, said he considers home plate collisions "part of the game" and injuries can usually be avoided with the proper technique.

PITCHING IN: LHP Drew Smyly's shutout was the Rays AL-leading 17th, tying the team record for a season, and their first complete-game shutout in more than a year, since RHP Chris Archer in New York. ... The Rays also logged their first back-to-back shutouts since September.

WIL THRILLED: After striking out looking in six of his first eight at-bats since coming off the disabled list, DH Wil Myers felt pretty good about his eighth-inning home run. "I felt something when I was on deck, something I hadn't felt,'' he said. "I can't tell you what it was, I don't know what it was. But I was able to put a good swing on a good pitch.''

CATCHING ON: Rookie C Curt Casali made his fourth consecutive start as Maddon revealed veteran Jose Molina has been bothered by a sore left knee but is expected to return today.

"I just want to be real careful with him," Maddon said. "Just trying to back off it a little bit."

Casali has handled himself well in the increased role, impressing Maddon with his catching and hitting.

"I like his approach at the plate," Maddon said. "Behind the plate, he's been doing really wonderful in handling the pitching staff, blocking balls, throwing well. He's been doing a really good job. He's taken advantage of his opportunity, no question."

REHAB REPORT: OF David DeJesus (left hand fracture) was 1-for-2 for advanced Class A Charlotte in his third rehab game, leaving as scheduled after five innings. C Ryan Hanigan (oblique strain) started what he hopes to be a short rehab stint with the Stone Crabs, going 2-for-3 in seven innings.

MINOR MATTERS: Montgomery's Kris Russell and Bowling Green's Nick Flynn were named tops in their league by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

MISCELLANY: The Rays logged their 19th consecutive road game allowing three or fewer runs. ... 1B James Loney got a putout in the third when a fan reached over the wall and caught a foul popup. … OF Kevin Kiermaier said there was no lingering pain in his lower back from Thursday's game.

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