Scorekeeping: Felipe Lopez’s Benching Marks First Major Incident of 2011

Felipe Lopez was benched for a lack of hustle on Friday.

Here’s more from Marc Topkin of TampaBay.com:

Rays INF Felipe Lopez was pulled from the game in the middle of the 11th inning by manager Joe Maddon for a lack of hustle.

Lopez did not run hard to first on an 11th-inning ground ball that ended up being bobbled, costing the Rays a baserunner in a key situation, amplified when Sean Rodriguez followed with a walk. It was the second time this week Lopez clearly did not run hard all the way to first – which is one of Maddon’s cardinal rules – and the issue was brought to his attention after the first incident in Wednesday’s game.

Some quotes via Topkin:

“He was great,” Maddon said. “I explained to him everything, he understood, he was not upset. I just want him to understand that’s how we do things here, and I’ve talked to him about it before. For us to be repeat AL East champs we’ve got to play the game a certain way, and that’s it.”

“Here’s my take: I feel like he and I have a good relationship – I really like this fella, he’s a very likable guy,” Maddon said. “Sometimes people where they come from just don’t understand, or it’s about prioritizing what is important and what is not. So maybe it’s not been presented to him in a way that this stuff is that important in the past. I just want him to know while he’s here, it is that important. So hopefully he’ll understand that and make the adjustments because I think he’s done a great job for us so far.”

Seems Maddon’s improved his approach on these things from last year with the <a href="http://dingersblog.com/2010/06/29/a-tale-of-two-centerfielders/&quot; BJ Upton incident.

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