Upton benched for lack of hustle
Rays center fielder slow running out inning-ending double play
ARLINGTON -- Joe Maddon disciplined B.J. Upton for the second time this season when the Rays manager removed his center fielder from the game for lack of hustle on an inning-ending double play on Friday night.
Maddon plans to bench Upton on Saturday.
Upton hit into the double play in the sixth inning, prompting Maddon to yank Upton and insert Justin Ruggiano into center field.
Upton ran "5.33 [seconds] to first base," said Maddon with displeasure, noting that the Major League average to first is 4.3 seconds. "And you see how we're playing right now. Everybody who watches us, you understand why we're in the position we're in right now and it's about continuous effort. I can't make it any more plan, simple, obvious, black and white, whatever, there are no gray areas. And I can't have [Akinori Iwamura] run like he is, and [Carlos] Pena, and Cliff [Floyd], who's got two bad knees, etc. And then permit that. I can't permit it."
Maddon believes overlooking a lack of hustle would be a disservice to the organization.
"If we're going to be a really good organization, it has to permeate the entire group," Maddon said. "I'm not just talking about the Major League club. I'm talking from rookie ball all the way up to Triple-A. So I hope that our Minor Leaguers read all about this tomorrow because I want that message sent to them, too. That's how we play. And if we're going to compete in this division for years to come, we can't take anything for granted. And that's what I'm talking about -- assumptions. You can't assume. So for me, that has no place here. Now or in the future. And again, I can't make it any clearer than that."
Maddon said he has not decided if there will be further discipline.
"I have not spoken to him right now and I'm not going to tonight," Maddon said. "I'm going to wait until tomorrow. It's one of those things where you get really upset, sometimes you say things you don't really mean. So I'll wait until tomorrow, but he won't be in the lineup, I can tell you that."
When asked about his lack of hustle, Upton said, "I thought there were two outs."
"Obviously I was wrong," Upton said. "I didn't run it out again. I'm not playing tomorrow either. There's not much more I can say."
Upton said he was "stunned a little bit" about getting yanked during the game.
"There's not much I can say about it," Upton said. "He made the move when he wanted to make the move."
Upton said he needed to start hustling all the time.
"I mean I'm going to have to if he keeps doing it, making me the example," Upton said. "So, I guess I can't let him make me the example any more. ... I guess I'm the only one not running them out. You can't be singled out when you're the only one not doing it."
Upton sounded like he was prepared to take his medicine.
"Hopefully, it's over with and this is the last time we deal with it," Upton said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.