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Upton, Maddon hope issue is behind them

B.J. Upton, left, serves his penalty for not hustling, sitting 
in the dugout and watching the Rays offense struggle.

Associated Press

B.J. Upton, left, serves his penalty for not hustling, sitting in the dugout and watching the Rays offense struggle.

ARLINGTON, Texas — CF B.J. Upton and manager Joe Maddon spent about 15 minutes Saturday afternoon talking about the lack of hustle the night before that got Upton embarrassingly pulled off the field.

Then Upton spent Saturday night watching from the bench.

Maddon kept Upton out of the lineup as promised. He debated whether to extend the punishment, but after the game he said Upton will play tonight.

Otherwise, Maddon and Upton said the incident — the second time in 10 days Upton was disciplined for not running hard enough — was behind them.

"It is what it is," Upton said. "It's over with. Move on."

"Like I said last time, it's ancient history," Maddon said. "Just going to move it along."

Upton drew Maddon's ire when he ran slowly to first (5.33 seconds, compared to 4.3 for an average right-handed batter) on a sharply hit double-play grounder that ended the sixth inning.

Upton said he understands there will be "zero" tolerance in the future, that "it just can't happen again."

Maddon said: "I'd like to believe that it won't ever happen again."

After Friday's game, Maddon said he was too upset to talk with Upton and would wait until Saturday. When they did, Maddon said he was more disappointed in the 23-year-old than anything, in the way a parent is with a tardy teenager.

"You know what it's like when you say to get the car home at a certain time and be home before a certain time and they don't," Maddon said. "There's a certain amount of anger at first, but a lot of it is just based on disappointment. That's primarily, if I had to describe my feelings or emotions, it's that.

"Because, listen, I like the guy a lot. B.J.'s a wonderful young man. He's going to be a superstar in this league. He's a big part of our organization now and in the future.

"But you have to draw the line at some point just to make sure that all the right things do occur in the years to come. He can be the catalyst in regard to us getting to the playoffs. He can be a catalyst for us during the playoffs. And I want him to understand that. But we have to work through some moments and issues right now to get to that point."

Maddon was emphatic Friday that there were "no gray areas" but acknowledged Saturday that there is some discretion in how he views whether a player is running hard enough, based primarily on injury status.

Upton said, "There is a happy medium. I guess my effort wasn't at that point."

But he also said he understands he has to do it the way Maddon wants: "It's something I have to pay extra attention to."

Bartlett out? SS Jason Bartlett might not play tonight after jamming his right knee on a slide. Maddon said he'd wait to see how stiff Bartlett was today. He missed 16 games earlier with a sprained knee on a similar play: "It looked like he slid late again … but he said it did not feel like the last time at all," Maddon said.

Rest for Navi: With C Dioner Navarro's average dropping below .300 for the first time this season, Maddon gave him back-to-back days off for the first time since he was on the DL in April.

Navarro said he felt fine but was "just getting tired" and appreciated the offer.

"I said it would be a good idea," Navarro said. "I need to rest. I've been playing a lot."

Maddon had planned the break but moved it up a day after Navarro caught all 12 innings Thursday after Wednesday's night game.

"I just wanted to make sure that he stays fresh," Maddon said.

Power of youth: When Scott Kazmir takes the mound tonight, the Rays will be the fourth team in major-league history to have five pitchers age 26 or younger make 20 starts each. The others were the 1984 Red Sox (Roger Clemens, Oil Can Boyd, Al Nipper, Bruce Hurst and Bob Ojeda); 1969 Royals (Bill Butler, Wally Bunker, Dick Drago, Roger Nelson, Jim Rooker); and 1968 A's (Catfish Hunter, Jim Nash, Blue Moon Odom, Chuck Dobson, Lew Krausse).

Miscellany: The Rays were shut out for the first time in 30 games, since July 11, and fourth time overall. … It was the Rangers' first home shutout since May 9.

Upton, Maddon hope issue is behind them 08/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:36pm]

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