Rays outfielder Upton benched a second time for lack of hustle

Updated: August 16, 2008, 8:16 PM ET
Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was benched for the second time in less than two weeks for failing to run hard on a double-play grounder in the sixth inning of Friday night's 7-0 victory over the Rangers.

Rays manager Joe Maddon punished Upton by keeping him out of the lineup Saturday night against Texas. On Friday night, Maddon removed Upton from the game in the bottom of the sixth after he was easily doubled-up on a one-out grounder.

Upton said after the game that he thought there were two outs, adding that he was "stunned" to be yanked in the middle of an inning for the AL East-leading Rays.

Maddon met with Upton on Saturday, and Upton apologized during the meeting, later telling reporters he had "disappointed" Maddon.

Maddon accepted the apology but told the media prior to the game Saturday night that he was still considering further punishment for Upton.

"I'm not angry, it's more about disappointment," Maddon said. "I like the guy a lot. B.J. is a wonderful young man who's going to be a superstar in this league. He's a big part of our organization now and in the future. But you have to draw the line at some point. He listened to me, I listened to him, and we'll move along. We're just looking for a continuous effort."

It wasn't the first time Upton has been disciplined for not hustling. On Aug. 6, Upton was benched against Cleveland for failing to run out a grounder the previous night.

Entering Saturday night, Upton was hitting .264 with seven homers, 54 RBIs and a team-best 36 stolen bases.

Maddon was unsure whether Upton would be back in the lineup Sunday night against Texas.

Ben Zobrist made his second start of the season in center field for the Rays on Saturday night.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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