Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Maddon denies report that Soriano was a problem in 2010
Posted Jan 17, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 05:33 PM
BY ROGER MOONEY
A column in Sunday’s New York Daily News said the Rays were glad to see Rafael Soriano leave since the closer was a bit of a problem child last year.
The column by Bill Madden reads:
“The 31-year-old Dominican’s makeup is - and should be - of great concern. Despite his league-leading 45 saves and 1.73 ERA, Soriano was hated by almost everyone in Tampa Bay last year. His periodic hissy-fits over being brought into games in non-save situations, or being asked to pitch more than one inning wore thin on Rays manager Joe Maddon. The final straw was the last game of the season - Game 5 of the ALDS versus Texas - when Maddon asked Soriano to pitch the ninth inning with the Rays trailing, 3-1. After throwing a tantrum in the bullpen in front of all his fellow relievers, Soriano trudged into the game and promptly gave up a single to Nelson Cruz and a game-breaking homer to Ian Kinsler. While fully aware that Soriano could be a bad fit in New York, the Yankee high command maintained to Cashman he was still by far the best option out there - someone with proven closer ability - and they are confident that Rivera can be the calming, guiding force Soriano needs to thrive here.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon told Trib columnist Joe Henderson this afternoon that those accusations are not true.
“I never said any of that,” Maddon said. “I feel bad for Rafael and I’ve been trying to call him to let him know I have no idea where that came from. I’ve had my conversations with him for sure, like I do with every player. He went out there and took the ball for 45 saves. He was good.”
Soriano didn’t look particularly enthused to be working the ninth inning of Game 5. He also made a half-hearted throw to first in a come-backer for the second out then allowed a two-out double to the No. 9 hitter.
Maddon denied Soriano had an issue when called upon to pitch the ninth.
“I did not see any of that,” Maddon said. “I didn’t hear anything about that.”