ST. PETERSBURG -- Joe Maddon decided to extend B.J. Upton's residence in the second spot of the lineup, partly as a way to continue the good results from the lineup chosen by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and partly due to Maddon's ultimate plan.
"He looked good right there," Maddon said. "I'm not going to mess with the chamber vibe."
Upton belted a pair of doubles on Friday with two RBIs while scoring a couple runs.
The Rays manager said Upton's appearance as the No. 2 batter on Saturday also works out well because of the center fielder's previous performances against Oakland starter Bartolo Colon. Upton had seven hits in 20 career at-bats against Colon, including a double, a triple and a home run, along with five RBIs.
Maddon knew he wanted to experiment with Upton up in the second spot of the order, but he was waiting for the correct time to do it since Upton returned from the 15-day DL on April 20. Upton entered Saturday batting .423 (11-for-26) over his last six games and has made the necessary advancements in his swing for Maddon to consider him letting him stay high in the order.
"The quality of contact has been better," Maddon said. "The ball is coming off the bat better and that's what I've been waiting to see. He's been pulling balls down the line and he has a pretty good swing now."