BOSTON — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine called out the Tampa Bay Rays’ coaching staff a day after the teams were involved in a benches-clearing scrum.
Valentine said the Rays’ staff escalated the tense situation in the ninth inning of Tampa Bay’s 7-4 win on Friday night after Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott on the right leg. He called their actions as “unprofessional.”
“I thought their coaches were really aggressive, as a matter of fact I took offense to the aggressiveness of their coaches.” Valentine said. “I thought it was really unprofessional. I was really proud of the way my coaches and what they were trying to do, what they were supposed to do in those situations.
“(The Rays coaches) seemed very immature and out of control,” Valentine said. “Coaches are supposed to stop those things from happening and their coaches were agitating, aggravating, and instigating the situation.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked a few different times to comment on Valentine’s accusations, but avoided it by specifically praising Boston’s players.
“I covered everything I wanted to cover on that last night,” Maddon said. “The thing I want to cover today is how much respect I have for the Red Sox players. I’ve been doing this for seven, eight years in the American League East and I have a strong feeling for the professionalism of the Red Sox players during that time — guys like (David) Ortiz and (Dustin) Pedroia and (Kevin) Youkilis and (Josh) Beckett, who’s pitching tonight. My respect goes out to them.
“As we move this thing forward, I think we have that kind of respect with this group here. These players have come here to play baseball. We come here to play hard every night,” Maddon added. “We’ve come to think about it as the ‘Rays way’ of doing things.”
Benches cleared after Morales threw behind DH Luke Scott with the first pitch of an at-bat and hit him on a 3-1 pitch. Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped in front of Scott as he was looking out at Morales when the benches and bullpens emptied. There was a lot of pushing and shoving along the first base line that carried over behind home plate before order was restored.
Boston pitching coach Bob McClure and bench coach Tim Bogar were noticeably in the middle of things with Rays players.
Afterward, Maddon said of the Red Sox’s actions:
“That’s truly somebody flexing their muscles on the other side and they need to put them in their back pocket and understand they can hurt their own team for something like that,” Maddon said. “To be really carelessly incompetent on their side and truly try to hit someone and throw behind somebody and hitting them in the leg for all the wrong reasons eventually they can get their own guys hurt. That was ridiculous. It was absurd, idiotic. I’ll use all those words.
“That was ridiculous. It was absurd, idiotic.” He later said the video would show who wanted Morales’ action to take place.