Tampa Bay Rays
Rays notes: Maddon takes issue with Escobar gesture
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said during spring training that he anticipated a time when he would have to call SS Yunel Escobar into his office to discuss some on-field behavior.
That time has arrived.
Maddon wasn't pleased with the way Escobar made the safe sign as he stepped on home plate while completing his two-run, ninth-inning home run during Monday's 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays.
The former Blue Jay was booed all afternoon. He made a two-base throwing error in the first and was 0-for-3 when he faced Jays closer Casey Janssen with two out in the ninth and Luke Scott on first. Maddon figured the booing played a role in Escobar's gesture.
“I love him on this team. I love him in the clubhouse. I love everything about this young man,” Maddon said, “but I still want to talk to him about the reaction after the home run, and I'm certain you're not going to see that again.”
Escobar said he does that after every home run — he has four this season — and that it wasn't a sign of disrespect for the fans, former teammates or Janssen.
“I don't want it to be something more than that,” Escobar said. “It's something that I do every time I cross home plate.”
As for his trip to the manager's office, Escobar said, “I'm going to explain to him that I do that every time. I'll be here to talk to him about it. I just care about the team winning games.”
Said Janssen: “I don't think it was directed at me. We were good teammates. I had no problem with him. He had no problem with me. I did hear the chorus of boos and I'm sure he was a little frustrated at times. He's an emotional guy, he's a prideful guy. It was his moment to shine and he did his thing.”
The new kid RHP Jake Odorizzi, making his first start as a Ray and third big-league start overall, allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, with all the damage coming in the first two innings.
“I wasn't really overexcited.” Odorizzi said. “I was under control on the mound. I wasn't peeling off of ball. It was just I had a lot of drama in the first. I tried to stay within myself. I didn't want to try and do too much. That first inning was longer than I thought (29 pitches). Some balls didn't go our way, but I was happy to get past that first and settle in after that.”
Look familiar? With his Sunday start rained out in New York, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched Monday.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner held the Rays to three runs on four hits during a season-high eight innings to earn his second straight victory.
“He had great stuff,” RF Matt Joyce said. “His ball was all over the place, and for us to score what runs we did, I thought we did a pretty good job. It's just tough. You swing hard in case you hit it, but you have no idea where it's going. Some balls were going up. Some were going down. You just had no idea.”
Anarchy in baseball? Maddon was not happy with the explanation of Gerry Davis, the crew chief Sunday in the Rays' 3-1 win at Baltimore, who said if the replay of Joyce's home run showed the ball had been foul he would have to overturn the call on the field that Joyce had doubled off the right-field wall.
“I disagree, because that would be a rule that's made up on the spot,” Maddon said. “Doubles are not reviewable as a boundary play. Home runs are. Had they called it a home run, and Buck (Showalter) challenges that it's a foul ball, and it's a foul ball, of course it's a foul ball. But if they rule it's a double on the field and it's reviewed, they cannot say that's a foul ball.”
Maddon said he has asked the MLB office for a clarification.
“Regardless of what they say, that rule is not in the book where you can change a double to a foul ball as far as I know,” Maddon said.
After looking at replays, the umpires changed the call on the field from a double to a home run. Maddon said he would have protested the game had the umpires changed the ruling on the field to a double.
“That is baseball anarchy when you make stuff up on the field like that,” Maddon said.
Noteworthy The Rays' season-long four-game road winning streak came to an end. … RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) is scheduled to come off the disabled list today, but Maddon said Gomes' rehab has yet to progress to where he's throwing a baseball. … The Rays are 0-2 while playing in Toronto on Victoria Day. … Monday was just the seventh game this season in which the Rays did not hold a lead.
Hot Wheels: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game.