Luke Scott evidently didn’t realize that when he called Fenway a “dump”, back in April, he would instantly become public enemy No.1 the next time he and his Tampa Bay Rays came to Boston. Scott found out the hard way over the weekend. Scott was hit by Franklin Morales on Friday night and the benches cleared following the pitch. The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have developed quite a heated rivalry over the years and this added another controversial chapter and even more fuel to the proverbial fire.Joe Maddon isn’t happy with the Red Sox brand of baseball. The Rays manager believes the blame can be laid right on the manager and he sure wasn’t shy about it in the following interview.Joe Maddon joined WDAE in Tampa with Ron and Ian to discuss Fernando Rodney blowing his first save of the season over the weekend against the Boston Red Sox, Luke Scott being hit intentionally by the Red Sox, Bobby Valentine being careful for what he wished for in terms of starting a bean brawl and injury updates on Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria.
Did you feel that Fernando Rodney bounced back nicely at Fenway after blowing a save in that series?
“Yeah it was a really interesting series. There were really hotly contested games three days in a row. Fernando gives up the home run. That is going to happen. He threw it in the wrong spot to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. We shouldn’t go there and he knows that and he did and he hits the home run. But otherwise the next day he comes back and is just pounding the strike zone with a lot of enthusiasm and to have the want to about him. It was great to see that.”
You were clearly annoyed with Luke Scott being hit intentionally. What’s your opinion on plunking a batter? Is there an unwritten rule to that whole thing?
“It does happen. Nobody can deny that, but you have to have a pretty good reason to do that and not fabricate something to try to hurt somebody in a moment like that. We were not…it was obvious that [Burke] Badenhop was not trying to hit [Dustin] Pedroia in that particular moment. There’s no way you are going to put two guys on for Big Papi [David Ortiz] to tie the game. That’s ridiculous. Then if you roll back the tape when we were here I guess Adrian Gonzalez had made a comment about hitting a home run and it just happens that night that Matt Moore hits him with a pitch that’s inside and not at him. All of a sudden there is something made out of that and then Luke Scott is intentionally hit in that game. Again they must have a little program up there that if one of their guys gets hit you are going to hit them back regardless of the situation and that’s what it appeared to be to me. Beyond that listen we do not do that. I’m telling you we don’t do that. We will take care of business if someone really provokes us always, but I am never going to have our guys initiate something based on something frivolous or something that somebody perceives. They learned maybe 30 or 40 years ago about how to play the game of baseball properly. I don’t agree with any of that. I thought our guys handled themselves really, really well.”
Did you think Bobby Valentine ordered his pitchers to throw at your hitters? It seemed that way:
“It was contrived. There’s no question it was a contrived situation. It was very obvious and again that is what I am talking about. You got to be very careful because when you do that as a manager of a team eventually it can get your own guys hurt and that’s what could happen. I would bet to a man none of the Red Sox players appreciated any of that.”
When do you see Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria playing again?
“Well Desmond just worked out this morning. He’s really good. He’s about to go out on a rehab assignment. He is relatively close . He just needs a couple of at-bats. He needs to be stretched out again to even just stand out in the outfield for nine innings. People don’t even understand that that can actually be an actual detriment when you are not used to it. He’ll go five innings, seven innings and then nine innings. He’ll get stretched out just doing baseball activities. He’s not that far away. Longoria is going to come on this road trip with us coming up, which means he’s getting closer, which means he’s also participating in baseball activities and not just your rehabbing stuff, but back in the training room with the trainer. Desmond is real close and Longoria is getting closer. Jeff Keppinger is still a little bit away. Kyle Farnsworth is doing well playing catch and actually throwing off the mound. I watched him throw 25 fastballs a couple of days ago. He looked good, so a lot of the guys are getting there, but we are going to have some great acquisitions come right around the All-Star break.”