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Maddon: 'Good feeling' on job
Maddon is optimistic he'll be back next year
By MARC TOPKIN AND EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published August 22, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG -There likely won't be official word until next month, but a chat with principal owner Stuart Sternberg left manager Joe Maddon optimistic his two-year option will be picked up.
"I have a good feeling about it, I do," Maddon said. "No promises, but he told me where he is coming from in regards to the whole subject, and it's pretty much what I thought. I was very comfortable with the conversation."
The Rays have to decide on the option sometime in September, and Sternberg said he doesn't like to make decisions before he has to. He also told the Times he didn't think it would be a "tough decision" and that "Joe has done everything that we've asked, and as long as we're continuing to progress and change and we're on the same page, everything's fine."
Maddon, who naturally would like to know sooner than later, said he appreciated Sternberg's explanation and understood that the decision would come at the appropriate time. His contract expires at the end of the season.
"He knows how badly I want to stay here and all the growth potential that I see for the whole group," Maddon said. "You can evaluate the win-loss record as much as you want, but there are so many good things going on right now and that's what I'm focused on. The wins are going to come."
PITCH COUNT BLUES: Rays LHP Scott Kazmir, who was visibly frustrated after losing to the Red Sox on Monday night, said Tuesday that knowing that he will finish the season on a strict pitch count is distracting.
"It just frustrates me that it's in my head," Kazmir said. "You work into the late innings and you always have to worry about the pitch count. It's something where you just don't need that. You have enough stuff going on."
Heading into Monday's start, Kazmir was pitching to an AL-best 1.01 ERA since the All-Star break while keeping his pitch count under control.
Heading into Monday, he was pulled out of three of his past four starts after six innings, each time having thrown fewer than 98 pitches.
On Monday, however, Kaz-mir threw 57 pitches after just two innings, forcing an early exit after 52/3 innings and 105 pitches.
"I understand it, but it's just kind of to the point where you want to keep progressing," Kazmir said.
ROLLING THE DICE-K: The Rays knocked Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka around for six runs in six innings Wednesday, handing the Japanese phenom his second loss to the Rays in three starts. But 3B Akinori Iwamura said the Rays shouldn't expect to see the same Dice-K.
"I believe this time he is going to change his pitching style," Iwamura said through interpreter Masa Koyanagi. "We'll need to adjust to him."
MISCELLANY: In his second rehab game at Class A Vero Beach, Rocco Baldelli was the DH Tuesday and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He is scheduled to be off today. ... After missing two starts with shoulder soreness, Durham RHP Jeff Niemann pitched four innings in his return, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. ... Tuesday's crowd of 16,393 was the smallest the Red Sox have played in front of since July 5, 2006, also at the Trop. ... Rays wives will be collecting baby goods at gates 1 and 5 tonight to benefit CASA.