Maddon still confident in Molina behind the plate

Maddon still confident in Molina behind the plate

ST. PETERSBURG -- A passed ball that resulted in a run proved to be costly for the Rays in a 3-2 loss to the Indians on Monday.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he still has confidence in catcher Jose Molina's defensive abilities, despite five passed balls this season.

"He gets the tweezers on it, almost when he catches it, tweezers it from the side," Maddon said. "Just trying to really make sure that ball is a strike, so I think some of the misses are from the tweezer effect. He just wants to try to hold it for a strike."

Maddon acknowledged that Molina should have caught the passed ball on Monday.

Baserunners have attempted to steal on Molina 32 times on the season, succeeding 21 times. Maddon said he believes Molina's arm strength has also improved throughout the season.

Molina has started 45 games behind the dish this season, already surpassing his total with Toronto last year, when he started 44.

Molina was 0-for-3 in Mondays' game and is hitting .165 on the season with two homers and seven RBIs.

"When a guy's not hitting .250 or better and makes a mistake, it tends to become magnified a little more, and I understand that," Maddon said about the passed ball. "But there's a lot of things he's done well that he's not gonna get credit for."