Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays still angry at Lackey for plunking Joyce

ST. PETERSBURG — Losing Monday's 14-inning, five-hour-plus game to the Red Sox 10-8 wasn't all that stung the Rays.

Several were still upset Tuesday with Red Sox pitcher John Lackey for hitting Matt Joyce in the sixth inning then claiming it was an accident.

"It was very unmanlike to deny that you did it on purpose, that's basically what I was addressing with him when we were on the field," Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez said Tuesday. "I played with (Lackey), I thought he was more of a man. But maybe he's changed, I don't know."

According to Joyce, Lackey was upset when he dropped his bat after hitting a long foul ball on a 3-and-0 count in his second at-bat after homering in his first.

Joyce said he didn't do anything wrong. He was frustrated he hit it foul, was not looking to show anyone up and didn't deserve to be hit, and he called it "a pretty bush league move."

Joyce was also upset at Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who quickly got in his face. "For him to sit there and cuss at me and tell me to go to f-in first base and take your f-in base and stuff like that, I thought that was pretty aggressive and I didn't appreciate that too much," he said Tuesday.

Also, Joyce said "it's pretty ironic" this became an issue with the Red Sox, since David Ortiz is known for admiring looks, bat flips and slow trots after his home runs.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said hitting Joyce was "inappropriate" and Lackey was 'a bad teammate" for doing so as a Sox player could get hit in retaliation.

Lackey didn't respond much Tuesday, saying he understood Maddon sticking up for his players: "I don't think I need to seek him out. … He knows being a good teammate is an important thing for me."

The flared tempers were only part of the story. Rays starter Alex Cobb gave up six runs before recording an out in the first, but the Rays came back to force extra innings, then the Sox took an 8-6 lead in the 10th and the Rays tied it again before losing in the 14th.

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