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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Rays

Maddon wants Peņa to simplify approach

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 01:43 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas -

Manager Joe Maddon and 1B Carlos Peña met for 30 minutes after Tuesday's 1-0 loss and talked about a variety of topics, including baseball, books they recently read and Leonardo da Vinci.

Peña's continuing slump at the plate came up and Maddon said he offered this advice: "I told him instead of trying to get hits try to not make outs."

Peña has been doing a lot of the latter. His four-strikeout night Tuesday lowered his batting average to a major league-low .188. He is 0-for-17 with 10 strikeouts since his last hit.

Peña was not in Wednesday's lineup because the Rangers started LHP Matt Harrison. Sitting against left-handers is now a normal occurrence for Peña. He was also benched several times on the recent homestand against right-handers, but Maddon wouldn't say if that might happen more often during the season's final weeks.

Maddon defended Peña against those who blame him for the Rays' recent offensive woes.

"The negative tends to glare more brightly where the positive doesn't, and with that right now he's an easy lightning rod for some of the things that occurred," Maddon said. "When we lose, we lose 1-0, it is a team loss. It is not one particular guy."

Maddon once again mentioned the over-shift against lefties as being the main culprit. As for the strikeouts — Peña's 159 is second in the majors — Maddon said it's a negative byproduct of the frustration from hitting into the shift and the pressure Peña is feeling for being a big out in the lineup.

By trying not to make an out, Maddon thinks Peña can contribute to the cause during the playoff chase.

"I don't want to him to change necessarily what he's doing as much as I want him to organize his strike zone again, swing at strikes, take balls, take his walks," Maddon said. "And I believe there's better offensive production at the end of that if he does that."

Joyce improving

RF Matt Joyce said his strained left forearm felt better Wednesday and he thinks he will be able to play during the four-game series in Toronto, which begins tonight.

"I don't think it's as serious as we were worrying about," he said.

Joyce wasn't in Wednesday's lineup and wouldn't have been even if he was healthy because of Harrison starting.

Always ready

OF Sam Fuld replaced Joyce in Tuesday's lineup and was 3-for-3, becoming the first player in the majors to do that this season and the first American League player to do that since Jorge Posada of the Yankees on June 7, 2011.

"Sam always stays ready," Maddon said.

Aaron Ledesma was the only other Tampa Bay player to do that. He was 3-for-4 against the Tigers on Aug. 22, 1998, in the first game of a doubleheader.

"You feel like you're playing with house money," Fuld said. "You come off the bench like that, you don't have time to think about the starting pitcher or worry about the game itself, you're just thrown in there.

"There are not a lot of expectations that way. I wouldn't say it's an easier thing to do, but there are some advantages to being in a situation like that."

Noteworthy

RHP Chris Archer was pulled from his start Wednesday with Triple-A Durham after one inning as a precautionary in case he is needed with the Rays on Saturday. It looks like Archer will be one of the Rays called up when the rosters expand. … LHP Matt Moore missed meeting Dolphins QB Matt Moore on Wednesday morning by a few minutes. The Dolphins, who played the Cowboys on Wednesday night, stayed in the same Fort Worth hotel as the Rays. Moore the QB and RHP James Shields went to high school together and had breakfast Wednesday morning. … On Tuesday, the Rays became the first team since the 1969 Astros to lose 1-0 four times in the same month.

Roger Mooney

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