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Rays respond to bench-clearing spat

Posted by Mike Whitmer, Globe Staff  May 26, 2012 12:35 AM

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Lots of emotion coming from the Tampa Bay clubhouse following Friday night's game, a 7-4 Sox loss. Rays designated hitter Luke Scott was drilled with a ninth-inning pitch thrown by Franklin Morales, after Morales started the at-bat by throwing behind Scott. The benches emptied, with relief pitchers sprinting in from the bullpen.

After the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon let loose.

What happened there in the ninth inning?
"I didnít understand the situation whatsoever, it was not called for at all. Iím kind of curious regarding who put out the hit, because I know it wasnít one of their players. By the way their players reacted to the entire situation, I knew it did not come from them. Itís kind of incompetent behavior, itís the kind of behavior that gets people hurt on your own side by choosing to do something so ridiculous. Pedroia gets hit, not because weíre trying to hit him, he just got hit. We donít want Papi coming up there with two guys on, are you kidding me? I donít care whoís pitching for us. Thatís truly somebody flexing their muscles on the other side that really needs to put them in their back pocket and understand that they canít hurt their own team by doing something like that."

Was this a carryover from the last series between the teams, when Matt Moore hit Adrian Gonzalez?
"Again, youíre talking about a young pitcher. If they could tell me for one second that Moore did that intentionally, please try to prove that to me, and if you could think for a second that we intentionally hit Pedroia with Ortiz on deck, come on. Understand that we have young pitchers."

"To be really carelessly incompetent on their side, to truly, intentionally hit somebody, throwing behind somebody, then hitting them in the leg, for all the wrong reasons, whereas eventually they can get their own guys hurt with that kind of behavior ... I think itís ridiculous, I think itís absurd, idiotic, Iíll use all those different words."

Who initiated it?
"Trust me, itís not us. I have no idea on their side, but just watching the video, the people that were incensed obviously theyíre the ones that were probably behind the effort, the really weak, cowardly effort on their part. Did I say that strongly enough? Did I make my point?"

Will there be any carryover?
"Of course not. We donít initiate anything, I promise you that. That is not what weíre about, Iíd like to believe we handle ourselves in a classier manner than that, I believe that we play the game properly, thereís no vengeance in our soul, thereís none of that crap. But we will respond to others that do attempt to do it to us. I promise you that, too."

Scott was one of the last players to emerge from the trainer's room, and had this to say:

"Iíll respond this way: I respect every team and every player that I play against. From what I know about Morales, I know that heís a pretty good guy. Itís obvious where it came from, and at the end of the day, you reap what you sow. Tomorrowís another day."

Were you surprised to get hit?
"Yeah, I was surprised. But like I said, we know where it came from."

How's the leg?
"Just imagine getting hit by a 97-mile-per-hour fastball on your knee, and you can imagine how it feels."

Who started it? Where did it come from?
"Itís pretty obvious, it doesnít take long to figure out."

Did it have anything to do with your negative comments about Fenway Park in April?
"I never said anything bad about Fenway. I respect the park, thereís a lot of great tradition here, I can appreciate that as a player and as a fan, and I can imagine itís a great place to go watch a baseball game. All I said was as a player, itís a difficult place to get your work in. I thought it was an educated response. By no means was I being disrespectful."

So why did you get hit in the ninth inning?
"I'm not going to comment on that. Itís pretty obvious, so Iím going to leave it at that."

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