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05/16/08 9:30 PM ET

Maddon inexperienced against NL

Rays skipper believes bullpen key to managerial strategy

ST. LOUIS -- Joe Maddon cut his teeth in the American League with the Angels and he now manages the Rays, also an American League team, which means he has not had a lot of experience managing in games without the DH.

So what will be some of the challenges Maddon might encounter this weekend against the Cardinals while playing by National League rules?

"Primarily, when you go to a double-switch situation, it's about your relief pitchers," Maddon said. "Are they going to go more than one inning or not? Or do you have to have them go more than one inning or not and how many pinch-hitters do you have left? So it's primarily about your relief pitching in regard to making those kinds of switches."

Maddon said a manager doesn't want to over-manage just because the rules are a little different.

"When you look at your team, if it's not out of control, you don't really want to double switch with a lot of people, take the wrong people or person out of the game in an attempt to come back," Maddon said. "I mean, for me, of course you utilize it when you need to, but I think it gets over played a little bit sometimes.

"I don't want to get too nuts about it. Because when the game's in progress, it starts presenting to you as you need to see it. Primarily it's about the pitcher, what might happen to him, and as the game's in progress, how you utilize your bullpen."

In addition to managing with different rules, Maddon is managing against Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa, who is well on his way to the Hall of Fame as a manager.

"Well, you're managing against one of the best that has ever done it," Maddon said. "From my perspective, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I know him a little bit, and we've had good conversations, and I know [Cardinals pitching coach] Dave Duncan well, too. I know what kind of preparation they do, goes back to the time when they were with Oakland also, when I was with the Angels, so I've had a chance to see that first hand. So I have the utmost of respect for that whole group over there."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.