TORONTO — Manager Joe Maddon mentioned last week that he would keep on eye on RHP Brad Boxberger’s workload for the remainder of the season, because he wants to be “mindful” of Boxberger’s future.
Maddon backed away from those comments Saturday after Boxberger allowed a game-changing two-run homer to 1B Adam Lind in the seventh inning of the Rays’ 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
“From a medical perspective, he’s fine, and that’s good for me,” Maddon said.
The cause for concern stems from the fact Boxberger has allowed two-run home runs in each of his last two outings and Maddon’s remarks about limiting his workload down the stretch.
“Listen, this guy’s been money all year. Do I want him in that spot? Eleven out of 10 times I want him in that spot. It didn’t play (Saturday),” Maddon said. “Give them credit. The big thing was the walk to (Jose) Bautista probably got him out of his rhythm. I think he was probably trying to over-throw there more than anything.
“I just think he’s trying to do a little too much, but as long as he’s physically well, he’ll play.”
When asked if he was wearing down, Boxberger said, “It could be that, or just another rough rut I’m going through. It happened earlier in the year, and its happening now. It’s just part of it.”
Boxberger, who retired only one batter Saturday, has thrown 63 innings this season for the Rays plus another 91⁄3 at Triple-A Durham. He pitched 79 last season when he split his time between the Padres and their Triple-A affiliate.
“I’m going to keep pitching until they make the call,” Boxberger said. “I feel fine physically. That’s going to be their call, not mine. Everything feels fine. I feel like I can finish the year. It’ll be whatever they want to do. We’ll see what happens.”
A red pepper was thrown from the stands onto the field after Saturday’s game, landing in front of the Rays’ dugout. With the way Blue Jays fans have treated SS Yunel Escobar, the former Jay, there was speculation it was directed at him.
“I think it’s important to find the person and ask them what it says by throwing a pepper at him,” Maddon said. “I’d be curious to know that.”
Escobar declined to comment after the game.
“That just speaks to an idiot, that’s all,” Maddon said. “There are idiots everywhere. There’s no area immune to idiocy.”
The Rays have not announced a starter for Monday’s game against the visiting Yankees. They will bring up a pitcher from Durham (RHP Alex Colome?) so they can push the rest of the rotation back a day. ... On Friday, RHP Nathan Karns became the first pitcher to win 1-0 in his Rays debut. He is the ninth Rays starter this season to be involved in a shutout. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson caught a foul pop near the first-base line to end the first inning. “Look, he has a Gold Glove,” 1B James Loney said. “Thought it was (C Jose) Molina. I wasn’t looking at him, but when I heard somebody, I didn’t think it was the pitcher.”