BY: John Mamola
The motto that the Tampa Bay Rays have laid their foundation on during the entire regime of manager Joe Maddon is pitching and defense. What has been the biggest Achilles heel of the Tampa Bay Rays for the last couple of seasons has been the lack of a consistent run producing offense. While many fans and media in the Tampa Bay area continue to focus on the role of Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton, Shelton told WDAE’s “The Ron and Ian Show” on Wednesday that he’s knew that his job comes with criticism from all angles.
“I knew when I took this job what I was getting into,” said Shelton. “I hear about it, it doesn’t bother me. When I took the job I knew it was something that was going to happen to me. I don’t worry about it. I know there is people here that defend me, and I know there is people here that are on the exact opposite side of the spectrum. But it doesn’t bother me.”
One of the biggest issues for the lack of run production this year has been the limited production of third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays’ hitting coach said that Longoria is going through a tough season, but is impressed by how Longoria continues to work through the struggles of the season.
“The one thing I can tell you about Evan Longoria is he’s grinding everyday,” said Shelton. “He’s working hard, he’s watching it. There’s good things to come there, it’s just every hitter goes through times where they don’t swing the bat as well as they want to.”
For more of Shelton’s thoughts on the Rays offense and their postseason chances, click below.
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