ST. PETERSBURG -- Although the Rays continue to be adamant that John Lackey hit Matt Joyce intentionally on Monday, Lackey has no interest in getting into a war of words.
"I just stand by what I said yesterday," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I really don't want to get any further than that. ... I totally believe it was intentional. I saw the replay, and it was absolutely validated, my thoughts. But on their side of things, to admit they did it on purpose would result in some sort of punitive situation, so I understand why they said what they said."
The interesting thing is that Lackey and Maddon have history together, with the Angels. Lackey was an ace on that staff, and Maddon was the bench coach before departing to manage the Rays in 2006.
"I don't have [an opinion]," said Lackey when asked about Maddon's comments. "He's got to stick up for his guys. I've got nothing for you, man. I'm not going to drag it on."
Maddon sort of paid Lackey a back-handed compliment following Monday's game.
"The sad part is, I've always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he could get one of his own players hurt," Maddon said. "I really did sense among the group of Red Sox that they were totally not into that moment, because they knew it was inappropriate to hit Matt on purpose, and furthermore, because one of them could get hurt. So that's being a bad teammate, as far as I'm concerned. In the past he was always a good teammate. That was really a bad moment for him."
"He knows being a good teammate is an important thing to me," said Lackey.
Maddon still respects Lackey. he just didn't have respect for his actions at that moment.
"Of course, I'm always willing to talk to John," said Maddon. "I still consider him a friend. You don't just toss a friendship away over a moment like that. I would be very happy to talk to John at any point. But I had to say what I said last night because I believe it to be true."
"I don't think I need to seek him out, no," said Lackey.
Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn't expect the incident to linger for the rest of the series.
"I think it was just two teams that went at it in a very hard-played game last night," said Farrell. "There's going to be emotions inside of any game. I wouldn't suspect there would be any carryover."