09/22/12 7:35 PM ET
Boucher puts own spin on first pitch
By Greg Zeck / MLB.com
Granted, it was of a different variety.
The hockey coach took a stick and hit the ball off the mound right down the middle into the glove of Stephen Vogt, who was equipped with his own stick and glove to receive it.
"We talked before the game, and I said, 'Come on, why don't you just use a hockey stick?'" Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He said, 'No, I gotta throw it.' And I said, no you don't. If you pull this off, it'll be on ESPN and whatever it is up in Canada too. I'm certain that had to get some play."
It did actually make SportsCenter's Top 10 plays, coming in at No. 2.
"I told you so," Maddon said after he learned that it made the list.
The Rays originally hosted Boucher and members of the Lightning to celebrate the hockey team's 20th year in the NHL.
Maddon said that if he was required to return the favor in the winter at a Lightning game, he'd be at a loss of creativity.
"There's no way to top what he did yesterday," Maddon said. "That was outstanding."
Upton gets shout out from Sanders after nice moves
ST. PETERSBURG -- As he approached home plate after hitting a three-run walk-off homer against the Red Sox to win 7-4 on Thursday, B.J. Upton did a little dance.
It was reminiscent of the dances Deion Sanders would do, and the NFL star known as "Primetime" saw Upton's moves, and reached out to tell him he appreciated it, even saying that he would have included it in his top plays.
"It's cool to know that he saw it and send me out a tweet about it," Upton said.
Upton said he hadn't discussed any potential dances with teammates beforehand and that it was a spur of the moment decision, letting it happen naturally.
"I don't know, man, just kind of happened," Upton said. "I couldn't figure out anything else to do. Just had some fun with it and I guess I decided to go 'Prime Time.'"
The two are tired in more ways than one. Upton said he was a fan of Sanders growing up, thanks in large part to Sanders playing at Upton's favorite college, Florida State.
"He was the man, football field and baseball field, he was the man," Upton said. "Even his music videos and the crazy suits he wore. I grew up watching him."
Upton, of course, wears No.2 on his jersey, the same number Sanders had while he was playing for the Seminoles.
He said he still has to work on his moves before he can truly emulate Sanders.
"Could be polished up a little bit," Upton said of his dance. "He did it a lot of times, so he's probably got it mastered. I didn't time my steps like I wanted to. I had some guys in the way."
Fuld feels good after working out injured hamstring
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Sam Fuld, who is out with a right hamstring strain, took a step towards returning to the team Saturday.
The 30-year-old ran 10 bursts of about 120 feet before Saturday's matchup with the Blue Jays and said he felt fine.
"I didn't want to push it too hard, but everything went smoothly," Fuld said. "I'd say I went about 55 to 60 percent."
The injury originally occurred Sept. 16 when Fuld tried to beat out a grounder in the fifth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Yankees. As he crossed first base, he grabbed the back of his leg. An MRI later revealed a moderate strain.
Prior to his current injury, Fuld said he had never had a hamstring injury.
Fuld took batting practice in the cages Saturday and said he would continue to do so. Moving forward, he plans to run again Sunday, take Monday off and resume his testing Tuesday, practicing his running out of the batter's box.
He missed extended time earlier in the year because of left wrist surgery and has played in only 39 games for the Rays this season, batting .273 with seven steals.
Fuld is confident he will be back before the end of the season.
Selective at the plate, Pena and Scott heating up
ST. PETERSBURG -- The season hasn't gone as well as planned for Luke Scott and Carlos Pena, but they took their frustrations out during Friday's 12-1 win over the Blue Jays, combining to go 4-for-9 at the plate with eight RBIs.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said the difference lately has been being more selective of the pitches both players swing at.
"Guys are always looking for different mechanical solutions to their problems, and the primary solution to the problem is to swing at strikes and take balls," Maddon said. "It's that simple. When you're expanding your strike zone, you try to cover too much. It's impossible."
Scott was able to raise his average to .227 on the year after Friday while Pena sits at .198 after being as low as .188 on Sept. 1.
Maddon said the recent turnaround is a result of them not worrying about stats and focusing on helping the team win.
"You should be really directed towards team thoughts right now where you might stop swinging at bad pitches, you might not be pressing to get a hit to help," Maddon said. "You're just pressing to get on base and move the conga line around.
"Your thinking should shift a little bit. Even though you've been thinking in a team sense all year, it should be exaggerated more right now that it's all about team. At this point, that number is gonna be pretty much what it is, so let's just do something to help the team win tonight," Maddon added.
Catcher Jose Molina was in the lineup for the fourth straight game Saturday, the first time a Rays catcher had played four consecutive games this season. Rays manager Joe Maddon said the move was based on the matchup against righty Brandon Morrow.
The Rays made a rotation change, pushing righty Alex Cobb's start back to Wednesday, giving him eight days of rest between starts. Maddon said Cobb was not hurt and that he wanted to have Jeremy Hellickson and David Price, who will start Sunday and Tuesday, pitching on their normal five days of rest.
Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.