Tampa Bay Rays
Ask Joe: How do you decide backups' playing time?
Editor's Note: Once a week, Rays beat writer Marc Lancaster will ask Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon a question or two submitted by TBO.com users. The answers will be posted each week. Coach Maddon, Do you have a preset number of AB's you have in mind for our bench players, because you seem to have a propensity since joining the Rays organization for resting our starters at an above average rate (even before our bench became an amazing strength)? Or do you just try to fit them in in day game after night game situations and to prevent nagging injuries from growing into worse situations?-- Ben Bierkortte, Melbourne, Fl Answer: "It's about keeping [the starters] rested for the full season. My biggest concern with a lot of regular players is if I don't give them a day off and then they get hurt, I have to give them a day off, and that's not the way to do things. Hopefully you noticed that our guys were pretty fresh playing in October last year, and I think part of it was due to injury with some guys, but a lot of it, too, was just making sure that guys got the appropriate days off. So it's more about the starters, but it also to me is about keeping bench players fresh so that when you need them they're able to perform. And we have good bench players." Send us your own question for Joe Maddon.
Hot Wheels: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game.